Tellusian - Collision - (8/10)
Published on February 18, 2014
Sweden’s Tellusian was founded hot on the heels of Crowpath’s demise. Crowpath were one of those eclectic bands that garnered a fair amount of attention because of how much different they were than your typical, run of the mill bands. Crowpath’s forte was combing spastic grindcore with progressive song structures, melody and a good bit of leaning towards the mathcore scene with tons of complex riffing. While Tellusian is not Crowpath, there are a lot of striking similarities. Former Crowpath heavyweights Erik Hall (drums) and Henrik Ivarsson (vocals) are joined by Robert Fuchs (bass) and John Rönnerblad (guitars). Prior to 2014, Tellusian has released a split album with The Swan King and a two track EP, Scania. Collision marks the debut full length from Tullusian and is about one of the most apt titles the band could conjure to describe their music.
Collision is all about several styles usually not correlated with each other smashing together into a one fused, cohesive entity that, despite its short length will force you into a state of schizophrenic shock. It’s not that the album drags you through some type of jumbled mish-mash of dissonance and noise, because it boasts extremely cohesive songwriting despite the progressive and ambitious nature of the music, it’s more that Tellusian are able to fit everything, and the kitchen sink, into an album full of one to three minute tracks. Ten tracks; roughly twenty-six minutes. You do the math.
It’s hard to precisely pinpoint what Tellusian are up to, or at least to capture it in mere words. Right from the get go, “Rivalry” quickly cycles between melodic guitar progressions, chunky sludge-tinged riffing from the book of Mastodon and frenetic blasting drums a la Agoraphobic Nosebleed, all the while vocalist Henrik Ivarsson belts out some deep, throaty shouts and growls. “The Collyer Brothers” paces into spastic mathcore territory, with nonstop cyclical guitar riffing and a more tempered drumming style. It’s not all blasting and spastic riffing though, as tracks like “Wolf in Sheep’s Medicine” have a sinister underlying melody and strangely familiar chord progression running through the track which almost sounds like punk at times and the album’s closer and title track, “Collision”, utilizes some cello and well-placed keyboard lines to add some depth and substance during a break from the blasting. The most impressive aspect is how much damn music, tempo shifts and mood swings this album has. There is a lot going on at all times but, somehow, it remains somewhat accessible, at least as far as anything associated with any type grind can be.
Frankly, Tellusian’s formula is one that hasn’t been attempted much before. Fans of the early catalog of Willowtip Records, like Circle of Dead Children, Creation is Crucifixion and Unruh, would probably dig this. I really like the frenetic style of the band and the whirlwind of sounds presented in such a cohesive form. Even though there is so much going on, Tellusian have firmly implanted themselves into a niche market of those looking for grinding progressive metal with tinges of mathcore. I really dig this album, but then again I was a huge fan of Crowpath when they released their legendary Son of Sulphur back in 2005. If schizophrenic shifts from grindcore to progressive metal to mathcore to just plain heavy music sounds like it might be up your alley, by all means track this down. Well done, Tellusian, well done.