To play math rock, especially the heavy, spazz-out variety, pretty much means to beat a dead horse. Audiences have become so accustomed to bands trying to freak them out that they don't get freaked out anymore. Like so many others, Tera Melos' stock in trade is the freak-out that requires staggering technical chops and that challenges the listener to keep up with songs that seem to have hundreds of changes. And as expected, the music is hard enough to remember from a listening perspective, so you can only imagine how difficult it is to play. But Tera Melos stands head and shoulders above the rest of the spazz/math pack by burying a refreshingly earthy quality within the noisy bombast of the music. (Yeah, that's right, earthy. How many math bands can you say that about?) As if to herald the promise that Tera Melos brings to the genre, when the flurry of notes and drum blasts recedes, something warm and bright emerges. The California trio also uses horns, keyboards, and ambient electronics to augment its sound, but its real weapon is its pastoral sensibility matched by an impeccable knack for melodic chord progressions. Live, the band loses some of the atmosphere, but guitarist Nick Reinhart's badass hammer-on techniques go a long way toward wooing the crowd. And don't worry, you'll get plenty of the nerve damage that you'd want from this style of music.
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