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Tera Melos - Drugs To The Dear Youth CD (album) cover

DRUGS TO THE DEAR YOUTH

Tera Melos

 

Post Rock/Math rock

2.83 | 7 ratings

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Fight Club
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Drugs to the youth indeed...

"Tera Melos? Yeah I think I've heard of Tera Melos.... aren't they like hardcore punk or something? No? I thought they were, must've been thinking of a different band..."

First time I heard the name Tera Melos (or maybe not?) A musician friend of mine had recently seen them in concert when they opened for progressive hardcore band, The Fall of Troy. He couldn't get enough of them. I remember being bombarded by his overly enthusiastic rambling that early school morning. Barely 7:30 AM and I'm already dealing with this kid's exuberance over yet another random band that no one really cares about.

So what was he so excited about? A little unknown band from Sacramento called Tera Melos. I had heard The Fall of Troy in the past and let's just say I wasn't exactly impressed. If these guys opened for them, they had to be just a cheap clone. After all, all these so called progressive hardcore bands are the same, right? I didn't even bother looking into the band. The name "Tera Melos" just lingered in the lower corner of the bookshelf that is my brain, growing dusty not to be touched for a long, long time.

My friend's attempt to convert me persisted. I thought "what's the big deal about this band? They can't seriously be that good, can they?" But at the end of the day I just went home once again not caring. Hey, I had better things to listen to, I had just discovered Riverside! I had some PFM and some Eloy lined up for that week too! Hardcore bands come later.... (or not at all)

I have to say that a good 10 months have passed since that first morning, and it wasn't until a couple weeks ago I actually clicked the play button on the name "Tera Melos". What convinced me? Another mate of mine, who I happen to trust more with music than my overly enthusiastic school buddy, mentioned the name.

"Hey Tera Melos, I know somebody who's a little obsessed with them!" "Yeah man, these guys destroy!"

Alright so I didn't really need an explanation, my interest in the band was at last evoked. I scramble through my hard drive and find a little EP called Drugs to the Dear Youth and start it up.

"Hmm some ambient effects, this is nice... ooh what's that? Huh? WTF!?!"

My first reaction went something like that.

Roughly 40 seconds into the first track everything blazes up into a maddening fury of instrumental insanity. The next 30 seconds will set the stage for what will be one of the most mind boggling bands I've come across in recent months. Did I say "hardcore" earlier? Where'd I get that idea? This is no hardcore band! I can see the appeal to hardcore audience, maybe, with all that energy they've got - a hell of a lot of energy. Geezus, this band has to be on drugs with all that energy! But there's so much more than energy to this band. Extended jazz improvisations are a main ingredient to their sound. Utterly ridiculous guitar playing, two-hand tapping, one of the most dynamic rhythm sections you'll ever see, all topped off with some nice ambient effects here and there. No hardcore band ever sounded this good.

The energy seems to be the greatest appeal this band has to offer. I instantly noticed how much adrenaline I was absorbing through this band. I could see the music and smell the colors around me, feeling was coming back into my limbs again, my life was revitalized. I thought "damn these guys are wild on disc, what could they possibly be like on stage!?" Damn, I just had to ask. On stage these guys throw a hypermanic fit, over exaggerating ever possible movement to the maximum stress a body can handle. Spirals in mid-air, cart wheels into the audience, it's a freaking frenzy. Personally I like to be able to actually focus while watching a band play their music, not worry about a human cannonball being propelled into my face.

So the hyperactive rage is actually one of my main turn-offs for this band. To me it seems rather immature for a band with such technical prowess to be hopping around the stage like leprechauns. Their uncontrollable senselessness shows itself on the album as well as songs abruptly change pace and spiral out of control. This wouldn't be a problem if it didn't happen so randomly, so ineffectively. No time is given for tension to build its way up, right when you think the band is onto something their ADD kicks in. Tera Melos might be the youths in need of some drugs. Ritalin that is.

Another problem I have with this band is the amount of focus put on their technical skill. So much emphasis is put on their ability to "destroy", as my friend would say, that it seems any concept of melody or emotion is left behind to rot. A mere 20 minutes of this band's chaos is enough to make anyone yearn for Dream Theater's hours of technical noodling. Listening to Drugs to the Dear Youth for the first time is an exhausting journey.

Fortunately this album is a big grower. I can say that I am safely able to listen to it five times in a row now without growing bored. In fact it feels incredibly short, even for an EP. It leaves me wondering when the hell this band will actually decide to write another full-length. Hopefully by that time they'll have settled down a bit and figured out how to balance their hyper activity with some polished songwriting. Mathematically, this album is stunning and an absolute joy to pick apart. I can't see any progger not being impressed by this band's technical ability. In the end though, it doesn't leave much of a lasting impression on me and feels like an underdeveloped effort. Tera Melos is a band with big potential but overall still needs a good deal of work. A little more focus, some melody, and a little restraint to balance out the chaos and Tera Melos might be quite a band to be reckoned with.

But for now, Drugs to the Dear Youth is good, but non-essential.

Fight Club | 3/5 |

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