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Alan Averill

● Why no new anthems
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● The real story of 'Storm Before Calm'
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Terzij De Horde / Starve | 'A Chosen Hollow' Split

So then, a Dutch twin assault of bands clearly playing heavy metal-inspired music in spite of having their roots in the DIY hardcore punk scene, eh? I can see the moaning already.

This whole “are the punks out metalling the metallers” thing that has reared its head on this site over the last few years has become one of the most tedious debates since “is downloading killing music?” The fact is, it simply does not, and should not matter any more.

Sure, in theory I don’t want music I feel should be associated with the occult or mysticism personally hijacked by a load of people who are more interested in spreading a load of socio-political propaganda (left or right, I should add) personally – but really that’s not what’s happening for the most part.

What’s happening is a bunch of people are making music that’s true to their own interests first, and worrying about what genre it belongs to second.

And ultimately, if a band have written music that they’ve invested their heart and souls in, and can find their own aesthetic rather than adopting a bunch of rulebook nonsense solely for the sake of impressing a particular scene, then fair play to them – integrity always wins over art for art’s sake for me.

The thing that gets left out of the punks vs metallers debate is that there was a point in time that has been glazed over where some of the same musical characteristics black metal was developing (blastbeats, the use of almost exclusively minor chords and high scale riffing, rasped vocals,and an emphasis on atmosphere) were also developing concurrently in hardcore punk of the early/mid 90s.

Bands like One Eyed God Prophecy, Fingerprint, Union of Uranus (one of whom went on to be in Tragedy) and their ilk were the absolute opposite of what was developing ideologically in Black Metal at the same time, and the two worlds never touched.

But musically the similarities in places are striking.

Listening to Terzij De Horde here on this one epic song, ‘A Chosen Hollow’, its clear they share this same remarkable musical ambiguity that allows their work to be influenced by both these streams of sound.

Consequently, you can’t definitively say they are one or the other. Throughout the duration of their side what grips you is the emotion and atmosphere, to the point where they absorb your attention utterly from start to finish.

Moving from an opening mood piece that establishes a melancholic aura they move quickly into a blast section. Their command of flow and mood at work here is impressive, moving from rage to melancholy seamlessly.

The sudden quickening of the last section, where the guitars merge into a tidal wave of chords before coming to a fading rest, is one of the most perfectly placed climaxes in a song I’ve heard in some time. This is a bleak affair, as cold and forlorn as the artwork that graces the front of the record.

I can hear early Misanthropy Records and early Ebullition Records (google it) in equal measure. This band transcends genres – it’s not about wether they’re metal, or punk, it’s about what they’re doing in the music.

Their side alone would make this worth purchasing, and while their previous ep was a bit on the “meh” side for me, this song shows them develop into something truly special.

Which is good because unfortunately, I have to say the opposite of Starve’s side. After an impressive enough debut lp two years or so ago that leaned towards the murkier, more tormented end of the sludge spectrum, the band seem to have developed here into a more ..well, this is Metalireland, so let’s use the local terminology: it’s all a little too brodude for me.

Starve have moved on from the wrist-slashing misery of the ‘Wasteland’ LP into a more upbeat mode that doesn’t really seem to work.

It seems like they’re trying to go for some sort of Southern Rock affair here, with hints of Down, Alabama Thunderpussy and 70s rock being more prevalent than before. The late, great Floodgate come to mind here in places, albeit with harsher vocals and less interesting riffs for a convenient comparison.

Their 3 song side is well written and well played for sure. I don’t deny that, nor do I wish to wether or not I like the style personally. But while I can see how this is a logical development in some ways from their earlier releases, it doesn’t feel like a wholly natural one. “Cacophonous Shrieks” is a swaggering opener, but also feels too much like a band going through their record collections and going “yeah, let’s try this”. It seems a little bit like they’re trying too hard.

To be honest, the vocals are a fairly big issue here – the harsh, torn throat vocals that are used most of the time buy anabolic steroids rob the songs of the kind of singalong element this kind of metal usually needs, but when they attempt the clean vocals as in the start of “Grace In Solitude”, they seem too timid to work.

Oddly the most satisfying moment of this side is when they return to their slow and low roots during this last song momentarily.

In conclusion, Starve are a solid if unexciting listen here if N’awlins inspired stoner rock is your thing. Which is ironic considering they’re a straight edge band.

3 / 5 – Jamie Grimes ::: 23/9/12

  1. Funny how you seem to have interpreted my ‘punks out metalling the metallers’ debate (for lack of a better word) as a negative thing. I never once implied that, I just highlighted the fact as an interesting one. I really don’t care who plays what as long as the music is good- I have made that pretty clear. Anyway….

  2. I enjoyed Terzij when they played Ireland but never really got into the recorded stuff. The above sounds quite cool though.

  3. “This whole “are the punks out metalling the metallers” thing that has reared its head on this site over the last few years has become one of the most tedious debates since “is downloading killing music?” The fact is, it simply does not, and should not matter any more”

    A gross exaggeration if ever there was one, the whole “debate” centers around one thread that’s (correct me if I’m wrong) less than one year old. And if the author really finds it that tedious, then why bring it up (again) in the first place, and why devote nearly half the review talking about it?

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