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A sign of great things to come - 80%

stefan86, November 4th, 2016

Terminus is an underground death/doom metal project by Mike Watts, who also plays in the similar band Sleepwalkers. He performs all the instrumentation on this except the vocals, where he brought in Jordan Guthrie. This debut EP clocks in at 21 minutes, and it definitely doesn't sound like a debut. The songwriting is mature and the production is top notch, especially considering that this is a self-produced independent release.

Unlike many bands in the death/doom spectrum, Terminus sounds pretty fresh. No immediate band comparisons can be drawn, and there is a variety of dynamics on display. There are grooving death metal parts as well as post-rock parts. They are molded together seamlessly in the songs. There are also atmospheric layers in terms of synths and lead guitars that remind me of Katatonia's "The Great Cold Distance". The slight industrial tone of the production enforces this comparison. It really sounds miles ahead of what I'm used to hearing from bands in a similar stage.

There are four tracks on here, and opener "Sentient" is probably the strongest one. It merges atmospheric parts with a strong death metal vocal hook that stayed in my head for quite some time. The catchiness is an overall strength, and I wish more death/doom bands would go in this direction. All the songs are around five minutes, and there are no unnecessary interludes present. The most impressive part is how well the moody and heavy parts merge. There isn't a single occasion where any of the shifts feel forced.

The music's dynamics also found a fitting match in Jordan Guthrie. His death metal growl is fairly typical in style, but passionately performed. The clean vocals are a bit different, and I'm struggling to find a singer to compared him with. They are subtly raspy in a way that almost sounds influenced by grunge. Many times they don't take the obvious lead in the songs, they just reinforce the mood of the melodies. I really enjoy them and they go hand in hand with the music on "Sentient".

Overall, I am very impressed. This is a sign of great things to come, and I can't wait to hear more from Terminus.