You, the long bearded fans of 70's prog, in your army coats and bell bottoms, musing over the various line-ups of Yes, you the battle jacketed heavy metal aficionado's, in denim and leather covered in patches proclaiming your love for Iron Maiden, Motorhead and and Judas Priest and you the dope smoking stoners, wearing your cargo shorts and Kyuss emblazoned t-shirts, telling everyone Black Sabbath's Master of Reality was the first "stoner" album, all of you stop what you are doing and listen up because Desert Psychlist has found a band and an album that'll appeal to you all... and for that matter many others.
Terminus, Sebastian Thomas (vocals/guitar); Julian Thomas (bass/vocals) and Scott Wood (drums/percussion), have with their latest album "The Silent Bell Toll" created something quite unique and frankly quite brilliant, the band have put together a collection of songs that beg, borrow and steal from a multitude of genres, era's and styles yet despite this still manage to sound wholly original.
Ok we mentioned those giants of prog Yes in our introduction to this review and opening track "The Failure of Grief", with its neo classical acoustic guitar intro, does point towards a time when songs with titles like "Siberian Khatru" and "Roundabout" were accompanied by intricate musical passages that leant towards a more orchestrated classical sound but as this song progresses and the music takes on a heavier, more metallic dynamic we slowly come to the conclusion that maybe you the reader would of been better served if we had named prog metal giants Mastodon as an example. This revelation/realisation is given further credence when following track "Dying To Breathe" explodes from our speakers in waves of crunching distorted riffs and powerful incessant rhythms that lean towards the more heavier end of the prog spectrum. however what sets Terminus apart from Mastodon and other bands of that ilk are the vocals that the band employ, both on this song and throughout the rest of the album, dual harmonies delivered in clear clean tones that carry with them a vestige of pop commerciality. At first these vocals sound a little at odds with the heavy crunching grooves they decorate but as the album progresses, through songs with gnarly sounding titles like |"Lion's Den", "Origin of Fossils" and "Dawn of Fire", it soon becomes apparent that this amalgamation of sweetness and sourness is what makes Terminus' sonic attack of lilting melodies sang over grooves of gnarly complex prog metal and sludge such a unique and refreshing listen.
Terminus' approach to heavy music is totally different to many of their contemporaries, here we find a band unafraid to add a little "pop" to their rock, a band who write the type of heavy grooves you can easily throw horns to but are also a band capable of writing melodies you can singalong with and in this scene that is a rare feat indeed.
Check 'em out .....
© 2021 Frazer Jones