Terratomorf emerged in 2013 from the seeds of the band Byzantium and recently stepped forward with their debut release, Ya Legenda, a richly promising and enjoyable heavy metal proposition. That previous band consisted of guitarist Sergei Gviniashvili, bassist Ivan Sel, drummer Alexander Dmitriev, and vocalist Ruslan Kaplun, and earned a strong reputation for their live performances and sound. Creative differences saw them splitting with Kaplun going one way and the other three forming Terratomorf. Ex- Barbarian frontman Nikita Salishchev was found to complete the new line-up with the quartet making their stage debut in June of last year. The departure of Sel saw Vladislav Balashov come in to the line-up as the band set to work on their first EP, a release certain to awaken keen attention.
Released at the end of January, Ya Legenda (I Am Legend) takes little time to make a very convincing persuasion on ears and emotions, its inventively sculpted blend of heavy metal and hard rock a temptation which in its strongest moments virulently ignites the imagination and in its less inventive times gives the passions a potently infectious time. From start to finish the album captivates with skill and accomplished individual prowess, and though maybe the tracks at times feel like they have something in reserve which could have been unleashed to even greater success, it is an introduction which breeds full satisfaction and an anticipation of greater things to come from the Moscow band.
The title track sets things in motion and instantly has attention wide awake with an opening of predatory riffs and crisply delivered beats. The vocals of Salishchev soon join the incitement, his tones clean but holding a snarl which adds potency to the Russian delivered lyrical narrative. The track itself is a thrilling mix of groove metal within a heavier metal rapaciousness, ripe melodies helping shape a sound which reminds of Finnish metallers Stam1na. It is an absorbing and scintillating start easily waking up a hunger for the band’s invention. The best track on the EP is arguably never equalled by any of the subsequent songs though they all make richly pleasing attempts.
From the additive might of the opener the band takes a more reserved and straight forward approach with Sudba. Featuring the guest vocals of Artur Berkut from Russian heavy metallers Aria, the track swings through the ears with a steady infectious groove aligned to similarly appealing riffs and melodic enterprise. Just as compellingly the bass provides a darker stomp to shadow and complement the great clean vocals, their swagger and smile matching the melody soaked heart of the track. Though not as dramatically gripping as the first song, it still offers a healthy temptation with its presence to invite at least one more play before moving on to investigate more.
Prizrachniy Mir steps forward next placing a dark velvety bassline around the ears before a sonic shimmer opens up a weave of guitar endeavour and vocal enticing. Providing another distinctly varied proposition within the release, the track has a heavier antagonistic feel to its breath and sound. Riffs and rhythms court an intensive weight in their delivery whilst the sonic invention of the guitar, especially in the excellent solo, adds more heat and acidity than previously found on the EP. A melodic aside within the growl of the song makes a great unexpected twist before the song returns to its earlier muscular and suasion.
That impressive diversity to the band’s debut continues with V Nebesa, the track also giving full rein to its sinews whilst encircling them with rich flames of heavy metal creativity. The virulent rumble of bass and drums never relinquishes a second of their intimidation across the song to ensnare and temper the melodic textures of the song but it works to the benefit of the end result, though this is one of those occasions where you feel the band is holding back a little in their invention, hints of more never realised.
The closing Gorod Dushi is a pleasing and attentive encounter to the needs of a metal fan but underwhelming in many ways to what has come before, its riffery and grooves unremarkable but enjoyable in the overall containment of the excellent release. It is very easy to recommend Ya Legenda to heavy and melodic metal fans and to suggest that Terratomorf is a band with very potent and rewarding horizons ahead, we certainly will be watching closely.
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