Tera Melos
X'ed Out


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
April 14th, 2013 | 75 replies | 11,757 views


Release Date: 04/16/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Accessibility and technicality intertwined.

If I was to say anything about the music of X'ed Out, it would be that it acquaints us with a new and improved style. This is the album when we witness the sound Tera Melos has been struggling to develop, finally reach its culminating fruition. Every sound and concept that's explored here is fabricated and executed with an inspired ingenuity that has been, quite frankly, absent in the band's recent efforts. Certainly an audacious statement on my part, I know, but I'm in awe of this recent transformation that Tera Melos has undergone. Their previous album, Patagonian Rats, offered a few entertaining moments in its own way, but it focused exclusively in introducing new dynamics that weren't fully expertised by the band at the time. Patagonian Rats was Tera Melos' attempt at infusing harmonic singing with the irregular movements of math rock. It's a difficult concept to actualize, and though there were times when Tera Melos actually achieved this goal, the majority of the compositions felt awkwardly arranged and just strained haphazard ideas to the point of exhaustion. Patagonian Rats was a necessary stepping stone though, it may not have been the triumph of their ambitions, but it laid down the groundwork that X'ed Out would eventually build upon.

One of the main reasons that X'ed Out is superior to Patagonian Rats lies in the fact that it doesn't try to squeeze in overly complex rhythms into a pop-structured format, instead the music is able to progress at a more natural pace rather than being forced into drastic shifts. Tera Melos isn't nearly as concerned with spontaneous technicality here in X'ed Out, and instead choose to focus all their attention on simplified melodic tunes and quasi-psychedelic hazes. There are moments when Tera Melos manages to echo some of the hyperactivity of their previous albums, though it's often to a faint degree. For example, the main highlight in the album, "Sunburn", which follows a relatively fast tempo, still feels rather tamed when compared to the tracks in Patagonian Rats and the eponymous debut. "Sunburn" examplifies the conventional structures that overrun the album. The guitar work and drum patterns are certainly bombastic and mildly rapid in their deliveries, but rather than using that framework to catalyze pulsated rhythms for auditory dazzle, Tera Melos seems far more reliant on keeping a sturdy melody while occasionally dropping some clever hooks. The idea of embracing euphony and trimming away all superfluous erraticism to enliven the music, incites a higher level of intrigue upon the listener. There are moments of colorful spectacles to be found here, as the band still makes usage of angular melodies and the occasional start-and-stop dynamic, but are no where near as indulgent as in their past releases. Songs like "Bite" and "Melody Nine" at times flaunt some vaguely abstract exercises, but they're more devoted to emphasizing atmosphere and attraction, while the math-styled tantrums serve as added seasoning.

One of the most appealing aspects of the entire album is Nick Reinhart's newly polished vocals. He definitely takes his role as the frontman of the band much more serious this time around, and therefore, all of the instrumental aspects are centered around his singing rather than just floating along the abrupt craziness of the music. "Tropic Lame" is a good example of this. It definitely has its share of distorted roars and vivacious blasts, yet it operates under a tightly controlled pop-environment, which allows Nick Reinhart to accentuate his vocals with a mellower and more mellifluous tone than ever before. And because his vocals aren't surrounded by erratic musicianship, his singing abilities have a brighter spotlight to work in. This new poppier side of Tera Melos is definitely intriguing, and whether you support their new identity or not, it's reassuring to know that Tera Melos is a band that strives for creative expansion as opposed to wallowing in their comfort zone. X'ed Out is driven by a completely different mindset than its predecessors. It trades away all of the suspenseful theatrics and labyrinthine journeys to formulate a more coherent agenda. Its transparency isn't determined by how much attention you're willing to devote to the music because there's no obscurity to comprehend here. This album isn't about questioning convention, but rather embracing it. The music radiates melodicism, with each song inviting the listener into an environment of splendorous euphony rather than alienating with irregularity.

In Patagonian Rats, we found Tera Melos questioning their identity and expressing a yearn to explore something beyond their world. It introduced no drastic change in style, but it did hint at where they would go next. Years later in X'ed Out, we find Tera Melos familiarizing themselves with a new terrain, while occasionally looking back to where they once were. For a band that made their breakthrough promoting the spontaneous nature of math rock, it's surprising to see them make their comeback with an album that often compromises that once essential characteristic. Nevertheless, this adventurous side of Tera Melos has certainly made me curious to see what they have in-stored for us in the next album, whether they'll expanded upon this sound further or completely disregarded it. I suppose it all depends on how well X'ed Out will be received, as I'm sure it's destined to attract as many new fans as it will repel older ones.



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other reviews of this album
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Wasted Potential...

Jacob R. STAFF (4)
As unequivocally odd as it is accessible...

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Pop hooks and guitar noodling! Done better, this time....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



4409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Here's my write-up on the new Tera Melos, I hope it's good. If you have any advice or constructive criticism to offer please feel free to leave comment.

Here's the bandcamp page. I suggest checking out "Bite" or "Sunburn" easily the two main highlights:
http://teramelos.bandcamp.com/album/xed-out

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



10064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah, great job man. I agree with you on this one.

Here are just a few grammatical things I noticed during my read:

"Certainly an audacious statement in my part"

Think you meant to say *on here. =]

"allowing the music to evolve at a natural pace rather than coercing drastic shifts."

This phrase feels weird because of how it's started-- it begins as if it's describing Patagonian Rats. I'd either rephrase the beginning, or cut it entirely (not exactly necessary.)

"X'ed Out is driven by a completely different mindset than its predecessors, it trades away all of the suspenseful theatrics and labyrinthine journeys, to formulate a more coherent agenda."

This is a run-on. End the sentence after 'predecessors," and get rid of the comma after 'journeys,' and you'll be set.

"This album isn't about questioning convention, but rather embracing it. The music radiates melodicism, with each song inviting the listener into an environment of splendorous euphony rather than alienating with irregularity."

These two lines are fantastic, man. You've come such a long way in the last year, and it's moments like these when I can really tell.

And your conclusion isn't exactly terribly original, but you find a way to breathe life into its ideas, through your contemplations, etc. When I write something that's a bit cliché, it feels much more blatant than this-- i'm JEALOUS!




Digging: The Contortionist - Language

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



4409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Jacob. I took followed your tips and edited some stuff out.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



10064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet, man. I've only heard the record once, but I'm thrilled to hear it again. I was really pleased with it the first go 'round.

It seems the only difference in opinion we have on the record is the success of the vocals. I enjoy the singing in short bursts, but get tired of them throughout the whole record.



Tyrael
April 14th 2013



20823 Comments


Nice review

I didn't like this one that much, sadly

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



4409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ive heard it about 3 times but I didnt find my opinion changing. It kind of offers itself to you right away, without much to realy miss out on. It is a good album though.

I personally liked the vocals, particularly in "bites" were he kind of does this mellow tone, which i thought gave the album a trippier feel.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



4409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, ty. Sorry to hear, man. I guess it's not for everyone.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



10064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I really do like the vocal style in "Bite." the singing is messy, but that's what the song demands of it.

I found this band's debut to be pretty much perfect, until Melody 8. Fuck, that track gets me so mad. I could've had good reason to give out another 5.

Cygnatti
April 14th 2013



21350 Comments


Omaha is the new Irving! :3

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



10064 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha, why have I replaced Irving again?

Cygnatti
April 14th 2013



21350 Comments


Irving would go around complimenting errybody's reviews and then spend the next page or two giving you helpful advice on review writing. ^_^

FelixCulpa
April 14th 2013



1239 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review paper. I am really enjoying this album. Worked great as a album to go out and run to. Also anyone else feel that the artwork is kinda strangely awesome? Didn't really find it all that interesting or appealing on when I first saw but after I heard the album it just fits.

HighandDriving
April 14th 2013



3288 Comments


Just listened to Bite. Miss old Tera.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



15732 Comments


So here we are at the bi-monthly staff meeting (I keep trying to get it changed to tri-monthly because bi-monthly brings to mind bisexual people, and I feel as if they are being discriminated against in an obtuse manner), and Jeremy (mx to you lowly peons) is talking and talking and talking and since I already know what the fuck's up (I have personal meetings with Jeremy every two hours because I'm more important than everyone else; I keep trying to get him to let me help with the site's coding because I have some really great ideas, dudes, just you wait there won't be any more jocular spamming once I implement the stuff I've been creating on my Mac, but Jeremy won't put out no matter how hard I try, and I have tried very hard, dudes), I start thinking about Tera Melos. I think about how throughout my history with music, there have been a few bands whose technicality and insanity have made me think "inconceivable." It started rather mildly with Thrice and that reaction has expanded since to include bands like fordirelikesake, Hot Cross, Dillinger Escape Plan, The Fall of Troy, and most recently (and most inscrutably), Tera Melos. My introduction to this band came from punknews.org, who had reviewed their eponymous one and only LP release on Springman Records. After liking what i read in the review, I went to their purevolume and heard two songs and was immediately sold. Since then I've been trying to buy their album, all but unsuccessfully until tonight after seeing them live at Bottom of the Hill. This band is pretty ferocious and blistering in studio, but live, they bring the rock and don't stop until every face has been melted. Not since Dillinger Escape Plan have I had a boner so huge...

Tyrael
April 14th 2013



20823 Comments


Okay

Downer's my favourite staffer now

fuck hanson

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



15732 Comments


source: http://www.freewebs.com/nickgreerreview/



Tyrael
April 14th 2013



20823 Comments


That's awesome

YoYoMancuso
April 14th 2013



11006 Comments


fantastic review my friend.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
April 14th 2013



4409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback. That Nick Greer post was gold. I never got a chance to talk to him though.

@felix
This might sound strange, but the artwork made me think of amnesiac, being the drawing of a person with its hand on its face. Maybe that's just me though, ive been listening to a lot of radiohead b-sides all week.

Cygnatti
April 14th 2013



21350 Comments


"(I keep trying to get it changed to tri-monthly because bi-monthly brings to mind bisexual people, and I feel as if they are being discriminated against in an obtuse manner)"

This is true.



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