The buzzing hive that is England’s Terra’s newest slab of existentialism, Mors Secunda, is both fresh and independent. The layering and shimmering strokes sort of atmospheric black metal the record wades in, feel particularly painterly and honest. There is a pattern here that earlier bands helped configure, and Terra uses this platform wisely to enact their arty style. The record feels like a creative endeavor, and succeeds because it forms a distinct narrative.
Two tracks—“Apotheosis” and “Nadir”—work towards absolution, giving the record a quality of depth. The band focuses on their sculptural form, a sort of instrumental buzz, with profundity and sincerity. They care about every passage, every turn, and every motion: the sum of the parts equal to the whole.
Mors Secunda is dreamy and lush—the darkness swooping into your subconscious, giving room for a lofty and whole ingestion. Drummer Luke Braddick is multi-lateral, showcasing a dimension of quality that is high and refined; while at the same time, loose, like the record as a whole. Bassist Olly Walton is superb, with blocks and progression of surprising substance. When the two anthems step back in propulsion, Walton is there strong, holding the architecture firm. Guitarist and vocalist Ryan Saunders is extended, riddle-like and pulsing.
Krallice and Wolves in the Throne Room helped develop this sort of layered and expressive style of black metal, and Terra successfully adds to the form, developing a statement of grim sunshine that is defiantly their own. The beehive they build is deep and puzzling, the extended songs go by in a flash, like a sharp image of the past: swarming and bold. I liken this record to jazz; it glides and punishes in swift technique, is confident, articulate, and moves quickly as a total stroke of expression.