By Dr. Abner Mality

Terminus, huh? That name suggests something deathly and a look at the skeletal freaks on the cover emphasizes that idea further. But Terminus are not so inclined...the band's intentions lie more in the Baroness/Kylesa sphere of modern prog metal. Surprisingly, they hail from Arkansas, not exactly a hotbed of this kind of material.

This is a pretty impressive debut and any faults are ones that you would expect of such a young outfit. Yep, Baroness and Kylesa do come to mind while listening to these tunes, as well as latter day Mastodon, ASG and others of that ilk. There's a lot of free-flowing guitat exploration going on here, the kind that demands an excellent axeman to pull off and fortunately Terminus boasts such a maestro. This guy is very good indeed, pulling off the more poppy, jangly side of the band's music with the same aplomb as the heavier, riffier portions. Despite being an undoubted metal band, the feeling I get from Terminus is kind of light and airy...not oppressive or bleak in the least. Kind of nice to hear now and then. First proper cuts "Gardens" and "Leatherneck" lean to the weightier, more metallic side of the fence, with lots of chunky groove and thick riffs. Vocals are clean, high and pretty indie rock sounding. That indie rock side of Terminus comes more to the fore with "Seven", which will probably turn off the metalheads but in terms of musicianship, is extremely tight. The instrumental "An Ocean of It's Own" is where the band's really gets to stretch out and shine...they are very comfortable just riffing away and conjuring up spacy guitar sounds without any vocals at all. "Runelords" winds things up with a rather too long Baroness-style track, leading to the predictable "Outro".

I am told the oldest member of Terminus is 18. If so, this record is quite the feat. It falls in line a bit too neatly with prevailing "hipster metal" concepts, but the chops are there for this band to really grow, shift and thrive.