Reviewed: November 2022
Released: 2022, Code666 Records
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann
Terra are an enigmatic, underground atmospheric black metal band from Cambridge in England. They formed in 2014 and released their third album ‘Fur Dich Existiert Das Alles Nicht’ on 30th September, 2022. They create soundscapes of thick layers to depict a sense of chaos, anguish and gloom. There are (supposed to be) lots of twists and turns in their creations, and their latest album sees the act pushing the boundaries more than ever. ‘TERRA have been biding their time… to gift the most honest statement of intent imaginable.’ They have shared the stage with Ash Borer, Yellow Eyes, Vanum, and others and have played in the Blackwood Gathering festival with Urfaust, and Lychgate.
The album starts off with an interesting audible illusion, where the noises appear to be constantly getting higher and higher, but actually go nowhere. You may have heard something similar before. If not, you can find it on Youtube. Why the band used the idea for themselves is an interesting question. Had they made up the illusion, fine, be proud and put it on your album. But if not (which I strongly suspect), all the act are really doing is spreading the word of a neat trick. A little after three minutes, the band (almost certainly rightly) presume you’ve have had enough of the effect and introduce black metal blast beats and distorted guitar harmonies. As there are no real melodies, the harmonies better be damn good. Are they? I mean, they’re alright. They’re spooky and atmospheric, but only the biggest fan of minimalism ever would say they love Terra’s stuff. If anything the harmonies are just as expected.
It’s counterintuitive I know, but to be fair, when things gets even more simplified and the tonic chord is held for a long time… well, the sound does actually have something about it. It is strangely powerful and after so much wandering, the sense of home IS satisfying. Not amazing, don’t get me wrong, I’m just saying the music isn’t all dull. Track two begins with some far more interesting guitar arpeggios that get joined with some cool drawn out chords. They’re not weird for the sake of being weird (although they are weird), really they sound super raw and evil. Very nice. The blast beats that soon arrive aren’t quite as interesting, but as it’s black metal, I’ll let that go. As I always say, if such percussion really is vital in the world of BM, fine. Despite the drawn out nature of the track on the whole, new ideas get introduced at around the 4 minute mark and occasionally from then onwards, stopping the music from being truly stripped down. But only just. There are noticeable differences between this track and the first, but not enough for most normal people.
Track three offers little that is new, but again, the band DO know when to hold a powerful chord for a long time, a little past the 6 minute mark. But naturally, the music goes ‘back to normal’ soon enough. Track four offers nothing new either, but this time there are arguably no significant highlights, other than when the song ends. It’s nice when the blasts turn into more creative tom tom beats for a few seconds, but is that anything to be excited about? If so, I have no idea the kind of music you’re used to. The way the black metal fades to a mournful piano at around 12 minutes works from a textures point of view, but it almost sounds like someone is playing notes and chords at random. Sad notes, sure, but lacking in structure. At very least the tones are colourful. I believe the term is Farben Musik??
How would I sum up this album in one word? Boring. Not rubbish, I wouldn’t go that far, but let’s be realistic, many people will say this music is. I get what the band are trying to do, but there is FAR better minimalistic black metal out there. If you’re new the genre, I would check out ‘Hvis Lyset Tar Oss’ first. The fact three tracks are around 15 minutes long, and the ‘more epic’ one lasts 17 and a half minutes is a little bit ridiculous. Terra really are expecting their audience to be exceptionally patient. Making things worse, there are very few highlights to look forward to. (I counted three). I know it sounds contradictory when I say some of the best minimalism is when the home chord gets played over and over again, but it does work because the harmonies before hand are far more rapidly shifting (too much so if anything). When you finally get a stable sense of home, it IS welcome. Sadly the cool guitar parts of track two were never bettered. Had they been the norm, the album would genuinely be very good.