Ah, yes! The early signs point towards a more abundant reappearance of Progressive and Doom Metal in 2017. Even if 2016 in itself was not bad already. And – looking at the RockmusicRaider pipeline – there is already an inkling of many such delights. We are not necessarily talking about the known bands only, but also a plethora of relatively unknown gigs. That is good news, as these genres are in need for bands with new ideas coming on board.
The Italian band Tethra with their sophomore full length offering Like Crows For The Earth comes along with an interesting style package. The band saw the dreary and tear-drenched mists of this mortal coil for the first time in 2008. Rosario Maria Plumari aka David “Belfagor” Newmann (Horrid) initially founded the band. After having completed the line-up with Claudio “Clode Tethra” Passeri, Alessandro “Alex” Guarino and Michele “Mike” Ercolano in 2009, they released an EP shortly thereafter in 2010. A first full length Drown Into the Sea of Life followed in 2013.
In early 2015, the band announced that Belfagor and their drummer Miky left the band for good. Actually, almost all of the original band members left since the first full length released into the public. Only Clode remains as original founding member of Tethra to date. Now, that may not necessarily bode well on the quality side of any record.
But whoever said that change is not a good thing? Like Crows for the Earth impresses with a much more mature approach to their tune. From song structures, to riffing, drum work or execution, you will get that feeling of a more full-bodied venue to sound and track creation. Let me also commend the mixing and mastering jobs. All elements are not only present, but shine in their own light too. Albeit that the bass is often a bit lost in translation, but those are minor quibbles.
True to their influences, Tethra expertly mix the dark currents of Moonspell with the Gothic prowess of Amorphis. Like Crows for the Earth shifts effortlessly from harsh and metallic Doom Death Metal to somber and soft folksy parts. The band spice things up further with a whiff of Metalcore at certain corners and add some rich riff patterns throughout the album. Yet again, with so much alternation included, some of those really relax into the Progressive realm.
Clode Thetra expertly displays this Moonspell-ish flavor. And – at the same time – adds unclean screams and rasps that don’t collide with the quality of the record. However and as their credo goes, the band mainly stick to their main theme, which is Doom Metal. The lyrics and melody can easily attest to that in tracks like The Groundfeeder.
Then they underlay their tracks with a warmly fuzzy, almost hypnotic rhythm at times that delivers this stoner-esque feeling for some of that record. But let it be stated: This is no stoner album. Remarkable are also the acoustic interludes in between that so nicely flavor the follow-on tracks. Add to that the use of some ethnic instruments and you got something pointing towards a pretty complex piece of work.
None of the tracks are bad, by the way, and the album neither includes fillers nor does it let up steam before the bitter end. If I was to select three tracks in a best-of contest, I’d suggest Transcending Thanatos, The Groundfeeder and the title track at the very end.
To close, Tethra created a varied, juicy piece of work in Like Crows for the Earth. Keeping to their influences, the band composed a unique piece of metal that vacillates between its doom-ish and gothic origins and some very strong progressive undercurrents. The sum of all parts lands you with a rich album that re-thinks the traditional approach to Doom Metal. A complex, but delightful album.
And here’s an added bonus with a new video: