Tera Melos: I wonder if they’re a Math Rock band? Certainly no clues in the photo…
I love hardcore, I love experimental music, and I love rock musicians
willing to approach the genre from a new angle. That’s why I love Tera Melos, an instrumental math rock trio from Sacramento, California that manages to combine all of these elements with a little bit extra to add to the mix. Their tunes stray so far from the normalcy of so much of what you hear in your standard rock ‘n roll diet that listening to them would be like switching from a daily diet instant oatmeal to having a gourmet chef from France flown in to cook all your meals. And the word through the grapevine is that their live shows are quite a sight to behold. In the January ’05 issue of their hometown’s local music magazine, Alive & Kicking, Tera Melos was voted “Best Stage Presence” and the magazine suggested to audiences attending their shows, “You have to stand back or you will get hurt.” Their label’s website even has a picture of the band naked with one of the members in a wizard mask and another photo of one of the guitarist’s jumping four feet off the ground! There is no way I would be able to jump that high, especially not on a tiny little stage surrounded by expensive equipment. So if you want to check out a good show, I suggest you keep an eye on the band’s webpage for upcoming concert dates.
Besides respecting them for putting on a wild show, I also have to give Tera Melos further props for their music. Like I said before, they don’t perform your standard rock fare. Having listened to their EP Drugs to the Dear Youth, I am extremely impressed by the complexity of the music. It’s definitely not something you can tap your toes too unless you tried really hard to keep consciously aware of the constantly shifting beats. Every song shifts around so much stylistically and rhythmically while still maintaining such a consistent flow. It’s even hard to keep track of the switch from track to track. Given that the EP is only 21 minutes long, I was surprised when it suddenly ended on me because I the instrumentation just flowed so smoothly all throughout. I was actually very disappointed when the music stopped all of a sudden, not because there was anything wrong with the album, but just because I felt like it ended so quickly after I was getting so into it.
You see (pardon the sudden Bill Cosby moment), this is the kind of stuff that dedicated music lovers can really get into just for the sheer enjoyment of listening really hard to the instrumentation and the layout of the song just to be able to appreciate its complexity. Tera Melos is just as much of a thinking man’s band as it is just a great rock group for anyone looking for something different to passively listen to. And you can definitely appreciate them if you’re a fan of both jazz and rock, because there are definitely elements of improvisory jazz included in these songs. The fill drumming is one obvious aspect of that. But just the overall frenetic yet methodical nature of Drugs to the Dear Youth reeks of this influence. And you Simpsons fans will definitely go nuts over the song title “40 Rods to the Hogs Head.” I won’t explain the reference just because I don’t want to admit to being that much of a geek. Hell, I’m already admitting enough geekiness just by doing this blog at all.
Purchase Drugs to the Dear Youth by Tera Melos
Tera Melos – 40 Rods to the Hogs Head
Tera Melos – The Werewolf and Ben