- A Voice
- A Remnant
Every once and a while a band will come along that makes me feel foolish for not knowing about them sooner. Matter is one of such bands. While they have only been around since 2012, previously only releasing a full length, I still feel like I am behind the curve on such an excellent new group of musicians.
“Teraphim” finds Matter channelling a large array of influences to create a sound that would not have been out of place in the 00’s post-hardcore scene. With that being said, Matter is not simply a Thrice or Thursday cover band. The California natives bring a strain of their own lush sound while looking to the Book of Ezekiel for lyrical influence.
A Voice is one of the most balanced songs on the album, making it a great sampler to what the rest of the record has in store for the listener. Beginning on a sombre note, swelling guitars, light percussion, and soft crooning ease the listener in as if beckoning them to have a seat and experience “Teraphim” in it’s fullness. However, the song soon gives way to a sound that while remaining atmospheric manages to add a crushing heaviness. The opener continues to ebb and flow, never compromising the natural feel of the song, but instead making all the transitions seem natural like a band many years more experienced.
Idols is a personal favorite track of mine. It keeps the overall balanced feel of it’s predecessor while adding a bit more of a driving edge to it. This is apparent in the chorus, which is one of the catchiest and appealing moments on the album. Vocalist Eli Kellogg allows his voice to soar as he proclaims, “And they wonder why / My jealous heart makes me blind / As strangers sleep with my bride / I always reached for your hand / But you gave me the lid to your casket”.
Musically, the middle of the album is all about contrast. The ending of Plague is one of the most intense musical buildups in recent memory, sounding like Explosions in the Sky with some edge to them as a sheer wall of sound is blasted into the listener’s ears. This epic moment gives way to the desert that is Famine. This song is acoustically driven, letting the electrics take a back seat for the first time in the album. While instrumentally bleak, there is a subtle beauty to the simplicity found within the track which soon gives way to the fury that is Sword. The heaviest track on the album feels like a homage to Thrice’s Hold Fast Hope.
A Remnant is a track that deserves repeated listens with high quality headphones to truly grasp all the goodies within. While the closer is seemingly a straightforward rock song, the technicality and precision abounds. The sheer number of changes in tempo and vocal patterns had me feeling like a kid in a candy store, overwhelmed by all the goodness that surrounded me. The album closes on a triumphant note as Kellogg dishes out one of the most powerful choruses on the album. “My sons come join in your father’s feast! / and my bride come take your place as queen! / and my girls you will never you will never be alone! / the throne is filled the river flows / Jerusalem our home” will be the words that induce goosebumps as the album comes to a close against a full backdrop of melodic guitars.
The only shortcomings on the album for me were the tracks Famine and Exile. Both these songs are great in their own and are not sub-par songs, but stacked up against the rest of the great jams on the album, they seem to be a little lacking.
Famine, for instance, is a laid back acoustic song, which fits the lyrics and theme of the song perfectly, but with no real standout moment or curveball like most other songs possess, things get a bit stale. Exile left me feeling much the same. While stylistically in the same vein as the majority of tracks on “Teraphim”, the track somehow felt like it was always waiting to develop and turn into something jaw dropping, but that moment never quite came.
Overall: Despite minute shortcomings, Matter have crafted a stellar record with “Teraphim”. The maturity and skill showcased on this record show the craftsmanship of a band that’s been together for a mere three years. Needless to say, I can’t wait for what these next three years will bring for Matter.
RIYL: Thrice | Moving Mountains | Underoath (They’re Only Chasing Safety era)