Oct 282010

The people who have collaborated on the creation of this site live in the Seattle area, but we spend most of our time covering music from around the country and the world. Even when we go to shows and write about them, we tend to focus on national tours, and if we see a local band, it’s only because they’re an opening act providing support for the tour. That’s not to say that we’ve ignored bands from the Pacific Northwest. For example, we’ve written about Arkhum, Blood and Thunder, Odyssey, 7 Horns 7 Eyes, I Declare War (before they hit the big time), and more.

But although NCS is never going to be just a local or regional metal blog, we do feel compelled to start paying more attention to metal that the PNW has to offer — not just because supporting our local scene is a worthwhile cause, but also because this region is producing a lot of very good music that you might like to discover. Metal in the Northwest is growing and strengthening, and the bands in Washington and Oregon are getting more organized and becoming more mutually supportive in sharing information, expertise, and ideas.

So, with thanks to Blood and Thunder’s Ryan Yancey for gently kicking us in the ass outside El Corazon at a recent show to focus more on the local scene, we’re going to do that — starting today. And today, we’re shining our feeble, guttering, NCS spotlight on a band from Tacoma, Washington, called Terra Morta, which was one of several bands that Ryan promoted to me in that sidewalk conversation not long ago.

My two NCS co-founders have heard Terra Morta’s live performance and really liked what they heard. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet caught their live show — a deficiency I intend to remedy. But I have been listening to the music they’re streaming on their MySpace page, and I’m really liking what I hear.  The music is a blending of death, doom, and black metal that’s very cool. (more after the jump . . .)

“Terra Morta” is Latin for dead earth, and the band’s music is inspired by their desire to highlight (in their words) “mankind’s brutal and avaricious treatment of nature.” Although Terra Morta has only been in existence since 2009, they’ve opened for a host of big-name acts passing through the Northwest, including Suffocation, Moonspell, The Faceless, Korpiklaani, Primordial, and SuidAkra

The band’s music is an effective melding of rapid-fire riffing, jagged Nordic-style vocals, and soaring guitar melodies. The effect is both punishing and atmospheric, and big, barbed hooks within the songs have stuck in our heads.

Maybe it’s the fact that we live in a place where for a solid six months out of the year the weather is cold, sodden, and dark, but the current wave of up-and-coming PNW extreme metal bands includes many that draw from black-metal traditions. However, rather than slavishly adhering to those traditions, bands like Terra Morta are blending them with other ingredients to produce melodic metal with an appealing degree of technicality, compulsive rhythms, and an icy edge.

Although Terra Morta has a handful of songs up on their MySpace player and available as a free demo at their shows, they haven’t yet generated an official EP or album release. However, guitarist Chris Jones tells us that the band is currently recording an album  scheduled for completion in mid-January, which will be a collection of songs from 2008 through the beginning of 2010. At the same time, Terra Morta is writing a second album, which Chris tells us will take the band’s sound in “a different direction” than the earlier songs. That one should be out  sometime in the spring of  2011.

Here’s the ReverbNation widget for Terra Morta, which includes two songs. If you’ve only got time for one, check out “Beasts of Retribution”:

Music newsQuantcast

For more information about Terra Morta, you can find their MySpace page here and their Facebook page at this location. And here’s a video of the band playing “Forest of Suicides”:

  16 Responses to “TERRA MORTA”

  1. I don’t normal go in for blackened death (nor do I actively distance myself from it), but these guys have a nice sound. Kind of reminded me of early (Whoracle) In Flames. But with a bit more heat on things.

    I’m glad to be getting a glimpse into more local scenes. I love that I can come here and find a band from India one day and from the Pacific Northwest the next day!

    And until now, I hadn’t realized that NCS WASN’T a one man operation. My apologies to the collective founders!!

    • Many thanks Phro! NCS didn’t start as a one-man show, but it’s kind of evolved into that. My two collaborators still contribute ideas and music recommendations, but their written output has become increasingly infrequent. Unlike me, they appear to have lives to live.

  2. Hell ya, Terra Morta is definitely one of my favorite nw bands!

  3. First impression: not bad.

    But there’s something about the drums that don’t sound quite right to me. Granted, this computer’s audio isn’t as good as the dead one’s, but other stuff I’ve played since I got this one working (as limited as it is) sounds the way it did when it bored its way into my cranium before. They do sound better in “Beasts Of Retribution”, though.

    I’ll keep listening.

    • I’m assuming the songs were self-produced, and I also thought of ways in which the mix could be improved. I’m assuming the album’s production quality will be better than these demos.

      • We actually recorded the two tracks with our friend Sam in No Living Witness who has his own studio
        in Lacey, we were pretty happy with the quality, but were more concerned with just getting something out
        there to show people. His recording quality has gotten much better since then however. And for our next
        two albums they actually will be self-produced. We’ll be teaming up with a friend of ours in Tacoma who has
        a pretty professional studio set-up whom I’ve worked with in the past, so we’ll be able to do it for free and
        take as long as we want to get it to sound perfect. Thanks for the awesome article by the way, it really
        means a lot to us, any exposure we can get really helps us out.

        • Hey, thanks for taking the time to write Joel. It will be cool to hear what you’re able to do next. That’s really fortunate that you’ve found a way to record and produce the next music for free without having to rush it before running out of money.

  4. We’re actually playing at the Morgue tonight, if it’s not too short of notice for anyone interested. It’s Ceremonial Castings CD release show with Alda, Evangelist and Sacrament Ov Impurity – all really great locals. And thanks again for the awesome article and the feedback. The drums do sound sort of odd on those recordings, partly because the snare and bass are mixed with samples, so they sound a bit “fake.”
    We’re also playing on November 19th at the Morgue with Progenitor, Dethmocracy, and Evangelist – again, all great locals.

    • Margaret, if you don’t mind my asking, what about the cymbals? After some more listening, that’s something that’s stuck out – in that I can’t hear them as well as I’m used to hearing in most metal. They seem a bit buried, too quiet, dull or something along those lines. While I don’t expect to hear cymbals in the forefront, I do kind of miss what they can add to the mix.

      Again, it could be my current setup or conditions in Sam’s studio that’s affecting how your drumming sounds. Regardless, I’ll keep an eye on what comes next from you guys – or rely on Islander to do that and get acquainted with your new material through NCS when the time comes.

  5. Nope, the cymbals were 100% real. You have to remember that this recording was a “quick” way to get some new (new at the time) material up on myspace and on demos to hand out at shows. I literally recorded the drums for both songs in an hour or two (at most) and the rest of the instruments were recorded in two days time. Probably less than a week later we had the demo in our hands, edited and everything. I’m sure there were times when I was a little off-tempo from the metronome on the snare and bass drum that had to be “fixed,” during the editing process. This might explain why the cymbals sound “misplaced” at times – because it’s a lot harder to move cymbals around because of the sustain, and if one hand was on the snare and one was on the cymbal, and the snare got off tempo, the cymbal might have as well. That being said, this is not necessarily a good representation of the band, or my drumming, and we’ll have both tracks on the album when it comes out in mid-January, so you’ll have a better idea of what we were going for sound-wise. Feel free to ask me any other questions that you have, and thanks for the interest.

    • Margaret, thank you for taking time to answer these questions. I wish I could have made the 10/29 show at The Morgue — and I’m going to be out of town again on Nov 19 — but one of these days , , ,

  6. I just wanted to update this page and let you know that we will likely have a new EP released at the Athiest show March 4th (we’re opening this show so if you need tickets let us know! They are only $15!). We’ll post the new songs online soon. Thanks!

    • Excellent news! I’m really torn between your show with Atheist and the Deicide-headlining show across town the same night. It’s like the metal gods got in a nasty mood and decided that March 4 would be a good day to torture metal fans in Seattle. 🙁

  7. Hi guys, I just wanted to give you a heads up that the tracks from our new EP are posted online now. These are older songs that were created up to 2010 (hence why the CD is called MMX) that we felt needed to be released. We’re planning a CD release show in the upcoming months and we’ll let you know when we nail out a date, if anyone is interested.


    • That’s great news guys! I’m looking forward to listening to the songs. By all means, let us know the details on the release show when you have them.

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