The sweeping black metal Terra perform is a delicate endeavor. It’s tough for many bands to go over ten minutes with one song while retaining a listener’s attention, but imagine having to do that for every song. Now exclude any interludes or short instrumentals to act as buffers, for an added challenge. Very few bands can pull it off, but Terra try it anyway on Mors Secunda, with two tracks totaling about 20 minutes each.
Now whether they pull it off depends on one’s tolerance with this style of black metal. Many point to bands like Weakling and Wolves in the Throne Room as the innovators of this kind of dense music, though Terra aren’t just regurgitating content either of those bands could’ve done. Sections go on in repetitive fashion, not because they’ve run short of ideas, but as an almost trance-like favor given over the proceedings.
So obviously having to take in songs of such magnitude takes patience, which will be tested on Mors Secunda. The British trio doesn’t fool around with their sound, expanding upon their self-titled debut without stepping away from its core objectives. The songs are longer, there’s fewer of them, and there’s almost a drone-ish quality to the music, but the year or so between releases hasn’t resulted in some kind of grand sonic insight.
That’s key to Terra’s second record: it’s on par with their first one, but that doesn’t make for a momentous release. Where Terra succeed is in the instances where all the build up and lengthy bouts of feedback come together in a meaningful way, but they can’t keep that up for almost 20 minutes. Good-quality headphones and a quiet room make the slightest bit of difference in capturing Terra’s essence, so that’s the preferred way to experience Mors Secunda.
(released December 9, 2016 on Code666 Records)