Tethra – Like Crows for the Earth (Sliptrick Records)

Friday, 10th March 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

Born in 2008, Italian quintet Tethra deliver a striking brand of depressive doom/death on their second full-length Like Crows for the Earth. Only vocalist Clode Tethra remains from the original lineup, but for this scribe’s first exposure to the band, it’s one that clicks on all the right melancholic, dark emotions necessary to pull off slower then resting heartbeat tempos, brooding riffs and chord combinations, plus that mystical vocal delivery floating over the top of the proceedings.

Guitarists Luca Mellana and Gabriele Monti fill the songs with chunky, low driving chords and place cleaner bits or careful, well thought out lead breaks for atmospheric contrast and dynamic intensification – as “Springtime Melancholy” channels their My Dying Bride/ Candlemass affinities. The follow up “Deserted” features brilliant Middle Eastern instrumentation before gravitating to a mid-tempo heavy riff as Clode floats between this comfortable growl and clean, gothic melodies that have him sit between Novembers Doom’s Paul Kuhr and Moonspell’s Fernando Ribeiro. The band place interludes liberally in between the main material – occasionally acoustic, but adding that brief respite before the next doom/death salvo penetrates your soul. Twin guitar lines and a semi-progressive drum passage make “Synchronicity of Life and Decay” a favorite – Luca forcefully barking out the lyrics as the pacing marches in mid-tempo Paradise Lost/Candlemass classic form.

Socially tackling man’s exploitation of the Earth in many of the lyrics (the crow metaphorically representing the animal that threatens the ecosystem), you can feel the torment, rejection, and loss striding forth from the first note to the last. Savoring that six-minute and change sweet spot for songwriting in over half of the eleven cuts, Like Crows for the Earth contains that 90’s-oriented doom/death texture that brought many UK and European bands to international acclaim, and hopefully will put Tethra in good standing with followers of this genre.

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