Review: “Dysphoria” by Termina

We’ve said it before and it remains very true; the year(s) of the Great Plague have meant that there has been the time away from touring for a number of musicians to create new projects and follow up on ideas which may not have come to fruition without that time. One such project is Termina; the brainchild of Monuments, Makari and WVNDER vocalist Andy Cizek alongside guitarist and prominent fellow YouTuber Nik Nocturnal. Cizek is certainly an inspired individual, the bands he’s in are all very different, from Progressive Metal to Post-Hardcore and Pop-Punk and after four pre-release singles, the duo are seen as custodians of a sub-genre of Metal that blurs the lines between Metalcore, DJent, Deathcore and Progressive Metal, combining them with a solid pop sensibility that keeps things fresh, invigorating and moving forward.

If you were expecting some sort of melodic Progressive Metal affair then the urgency of the thunderous “Fade Away” will blast those thoughts away from the cobwebs of your mind, in enthralling bolt from the blue of Nu-Metal tinged DJent powered Metal that sees Cizek sing and scream his way through choruses and verses of bludgeoning power that have so much going on in them that it’s hard to know where to look, let alone take it all in. The brutal unclean verse that opens “The Abyss“, wrapped in DJent riffage and dark brooding atmosphere is a new depth of throat splitting vocal, something we haven’t heard from Cizek and yet something his cathartically vented lyrics seem perfectly at home in. The clean vocal parts work really well in combination at the way that the sound has been layered together in production is second to none, the credit for that split evenly between the musicians Andy Cizek (vocals, lyrics, recording, writing, producing, mixing, mastering) and Nik Nocturnal (Instrumental, recording, writing, producing, mixing). They’ve both clearly learned a lot during their years on the music scene and all that experience has come to borne fruit with Termina.

Aside from guitars, bass, drums and vocals there is also a programmed layer that is buried within the mix of some of these tracks with the haunting “Blood Echo” being a prime example. In the mix those elements are allowed to bleed into gaps in the other sonics creating little nuances that give you something else which you might not have heard during each repeated listen. Each song is distinctly Termina with short, haunting and errie introductions before the driven instrumentation kicks in providing an abundance of energy while Cizek’s introspective lyrics on the likes of “Suffocate” are pure catharsis, this one being partially rap-screamed while having a soaring pop vocal style chorus underpinned by come pretty heavy weight riffs. Cizek is almost schizophrenic during “Lucid“, in need of sedation before he tears himself apart with the unhinged thoughts flowing from his brain out of his mouth like a cascading waterfall on intrigue that just doesn’t stop, like a dream turned to a nightmare as the river runs red. Splitting the album in two is the violent “Servant Of Death” that provides no let up in the high energy onslaught and brings to mind acts like Veil of Maya and After The Burial with Tech-Metal fueled Metalcore riffs a plenty, the eerie electronics creating an undercurrent of evil to accompany the serial killer lyrics. The insanity of “Miharu” is like so much of the record, adrenaline fueled fun with so much bounce for the pit in the riff department and ambient breaks that make those moments hit so much harder in the turn around.

The intensity of the opening unclean vocals of “Eras Of The Past” is jaw dropping with the music is reminiscent of August Burns Red and there is a real depth of emotional connection with this one in particular which sees Cizek give an extra five percent in his performance while Nocturnal’s solo is a fine accompaniment. Then you have the dirge riff laden brutality of “Desolate Specter” which is probably the finest Deathcore cut from a band you wouldn’t consider to be one that you can find. It’s dark, nasty and just plain fun. Carcosa eat your heart out. The flipside of that is the self immolation tinged tale of “Moribund” which has an ambient undercurrent and mournful melancholic quality with a black heart of depression wrapped in thinly veiled suicidal thoughts. Another cathartic piece, it resonates while having a wonderful solo from Nocturnal in keeping with its dark surroundings. Closer and single “The Edge Of Time” is arguably the biggest split personality of a cut on the album as it pulls and pushes emotions and paints in light and shade, a brightly sung chorus perfectly counter balanced by a brutal breakdown section an savage unclean vocal segments, the only bone to perhaps pick being how short the icy piano moment is [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Fade Away
2. The Abyss
3. Blood Echo
4. Suffocate
5. Lucid
6. Servant Of Death
7. Miharu
8. Eras Of The Past
9. Desolate Specter
10. Moribund
11. The Edge Of Time

Dysphoria” by Termina is out 9th April with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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