Tera Melos
Tera Melos


4.2
excellent

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
May 14th, 2013 | 38 replies | 4,146 views


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 8 melodies / 10

One thing I miss about Tera Melos is how they once seemed essential to the math rock scene. The movement benefited vastly from the group's output, and that was one thing about its debut that really spoke to me-- each section of Tera Melos was integral to the greater whole, that being the scene from which it derived. It’s a feeling I haven’t gotten with the band’s most recent material (most notably X’ed Out,) but no matter how rough and impromptu Tera Melos feels as a whole, it’s clear that these musicians laboriously crafted their music to a science, for purposes of propelling math rock to an entirely new level.

I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Tera Melos’ bassist Nathan Latona a few months ago, and it was particularly illuminating in regard to the band’s history. The one thing that stuck with me most was how the band's debut, as well as the time period from which it came, was incredibly exhausting for Tera Melos. It’s interesting to look at Tera Melos within this context, because sometimes the record comes across as carefree and even melodically straightforward. But the band spent a lot of time perfecting each transition, and ensuring the end product moved as smoothly as originally intended. So in this light, Tera Melos comes across as arguably the most self-damaging record the band has released yet. It’s not hard to picture the band rehearsing “Melody 5” over and over again, perfecting the track's grueling intro until inevitably, one of the coordinators slips up. When viewed in this light Tera Melos is unfathomably tense, and exists only because its writers somehow endured the ordeal.

Some may even say that Tera Melos' existence reflects a band going too much out of its way to be successful. That’s why it’s important to look at “Melody 8”-- the end product of a band that has exhausted its resources so much, to the extent where it feels the need to catch its listeners off-guard with almost 30 minutes of pure noise, no less. I’m sure there are some enthusiasts of the band, or maybe fans of avant-garde music, that argue “Melody 8” to be an important piece of the debut. And while I’m willing to listen to those viewpoints, and while it is an interesting thought to entertain, it’s initially difficult to imagine the song with any discernible purpose for the album.

Fortunately, "Melody 8" goes against the grain of Tera Melos overall-- the rest of the debut possesses relatively logical song structures. When I say “relatively,” I only mean more logical than “Melody 8"-- the rest of the album is still quirky, creative and unpredictable. But at the same time, there is a very cohesive and logical structure to them, and the ebb and flow between melodic and discordant songwriting is what makes the songs breathe. With “Melody 8,” it seems Tera Melos took these ideas of thematic discord, elements used sparingly in the rest of the album, and utilized them to create a largely inaccessible monolith. The purpose of the group writing the song and including it on Tera Melos probably had to do with the fact that the band really enjoys catching its fans off-guard, and this does help to justify the song’s existence a bit. It’s far more reasonable to figure that Tera Melos pulled a prank on its listeners, just to find out how many of us really would wait 28 minutes and 45 seconds for that final moment of musical resolution (spoiler alert-- it doesn’t happen.)

The album's conclusion isn't too much of a shocker when considering some other factors, though. Latona talked with me about how the band started off in a very punk-oriented scene, and how Tera Melos wasn’t too well-accepted within it. Apparently, the group didn’t adhere much to the “punk archetype” that had been conjured up, instead resorting to quirky songwriting antics and curious live performances. The band’s own version of being “punk” (a.k.a.-- not giving a damn about stereotypes) wasn’t the brand of punk its neighbors wanted, so Tera Melos did the logical thing and bewildered its detractors. And noise-and-improvisation-addled setlists play over about as poorly as 30 minutes of noise ending a band’s first proper album. So considering Tera Melos' origins, it makes sense their debut’s finale would be “Melody 8"-- why not catch listeners off-guard? Isn’t it the ultimate irony, after all, that such a tightly orchestrated math rock pinnacle unravels by the time its denouement strikes? There’s a beautiful sense of humor about Tera Melos, because even though the group knows how to construct beautiful music, it simply prefers breaking things down in the messiest way one could ever imagine. Maybe this is what math rock is all about, organizing proficient riffs only to smash them against the wall ferociously and feverishly. If this is the case, then Tera Melos carries home the biggest prize with its debut-- the most phenomenally flawed masterpiece math rock has ever seen.



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4.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



9469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

My recent joyrides with this album inspired a review. So there you go.

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Azn.
May 14th 2013



5317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Melody 8's a gimicky sort of thing, so I feel like it shouldn't be focused on
nothing truly useful about it
sweet review though, sweet band

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



9469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

Thanks man, appreciate it.

However, I think that since it's thirty minutes of music, the message at hand is important to the band. I dunno, I guess I just like thinking about what their ultimate purpose for it was. In this review I think I came closer than I ever will to understanding it, haha.

Azn.
May 14th 2013



5317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it makes sense the way you put it lol


Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



9469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

Glad you think so =] I spent a long time stewing over this review, I wouldn't have been surprised if it were otherwise

Azn.
May 14th 2013



5317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

shame these guys aren't more popular :c

klap
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



9998 Comments


probs one of your best reviews

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



3008 Comments


So you're just "Jacob" now? Interesting. Great review, I'll give you feedback if you wish.

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Sleaper
May 14th 2013



3135 Comments


i was a huuuuuge fan of patagonian rats so i needa check this and xed out

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W. 2: Intoxxxicated

elephantREVOLUTION
May 14th 2013



2702 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

cool review of one of my favorite albums

Digging: IDYLLS - Prayer For Terrene

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2013



6959 Comments


yeah this is excellent writing

Digging: Wild Beasts - Present Tense

Athom
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



17117 Comments


I miss old Tera Melos so much. They sorta lost me when they became more of a quirky indie band.

Digging: Sad Lovers and Giants - Feeding the Flame

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



9469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

^_^ thanks so much, guys. I've been working a lot on my writing style, trying to get it to a more personal level. I'm glad to hear the transition isn't a rough one to witness.

Tera Melos has become one of my favorite groups lately, so I really wanted to do this album justice.



sniper
May 14th 2013



18580 Comments


I miss old Tera Melos so much. They sorta lost me when they became more of a quirky indie band.


sniper
May 14th 2013



18580 Comments


this album is untouchable. melody is basically free jazz with effects pedals. it's not unlistenable but it's not good either.

Azn.
May 14th 2013



5317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

melody 4's probably one of the best songs ever

EVER

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 14th 2013



9469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

Melody 4 randomly started playing on my phone five minutes ago. No joke-- I think someone's trying to tell us something.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 15th 2013



23641 Comments


your writing is getting better and better

good job BRO

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PaxMayne
May 15th 2013



13 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what a review!!

GhettoHmbrglr
May 15th 2013



531 Comments


just started listening to this a few weeks ago.. very cool will rate soon



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