Trash Generator

Tera Melos

Sargent House, 2017

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Alright, I’ll say it: This record is cool.

Blending the intricacy of math rock with noisy garage rock and a big punk smile, Tera Melos’ third album demands repeated listens just to really get what’s going on here. Packing a lot into a 12-song, 41-minute album, the songs whizz by with ferocity and a smarter-than-you shit-eating grin, like getting mooned by a carful of loveable nerds speeding down I-5 on the way to Comic-Con.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Such fun in math rock is hard to come by. Bands like King Crimson, Tool, Rush, and Game Theory are just so serious in their studied, technically proficient approach. Tera Melos chuckles at such shenanigans, then condenses the twisty time signatures, instrumental brilliance, and off-kilter songwriting into overdriven three-minute punk-pop tunes. I can’t think of another band offhand that has done this, at least to this degree of aptitude, and you’re halfway through the record before you realize that much time has passed.

A brief bio: The Sacramento trio has released three albums in 11 years, the most recent one 2013’s X’ed Out. A long tour supported that disc, and the guys opted to take a two-year break once the tour wrapped to pursue other projects. Coming back together as Tera Melos wasn’t an act of commercial necessity but rather an artistic one of sorts; they just wanted to have some fun and make a cool record. And because there was no pressure, they succeeded on all counts.

Prog-rock lovers will no doubt appreciate the tricky playing of the title cut, “Warpless Run” and the hypnotic, irresistible opening track “System Preferences.” The band stretches out a bit on “Dyer Ln” and the short instrumental “GR30A11,” proving they belong alongside the status of any other math rock band you care to name, while “Men’s Shirt” is a labyrinth of unusual ideas and knotty interplay. Even “Don’t Say I Know” and “Drawing” use a basic Foo Fighters base and then make both songs thrilling and chilly, kind of like alt-math punk. Thurston Moore and Robert Fripp would both be proud, if they have the chance to hear this.

Trash Generator is nothing of the sort, but rather an out-of-nowhere romp well worth its brief run time. Enjoy.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2017 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sargent House, and is used for informational purposes only.