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.