Almost eight years after their last release, Terminus Victor is back with a new album, and it’s a promising return. The new music, by Scott Kimble, Don King, and now with drummer, Terry Wathen replacing the beat box of their earlier releases, has landed with a universal message. Within every struggle that we endure together, there are a million smaller, personal, heart-pounding, life-shaking struggles taking place.
Prevention vs. Intervention reflects such a struggle. You know from the first chord of the first song, “The Hands of Gridlock,” that what follows is a gritty depiction of something big, something important, and the band delivers. Their particular brand of industrial, alternative rock shakes the rafters in order to convey their reality, and it works.
Whether it’s the myth shattering, “Cue the Disclaimer” (stream below), telling one and all that life is mere smoke and mirrors, or Kimble’s tour de force, “Hopelessly Rehabilitated,” Terminus Victor is aging well.
Drummer Terry Wathen makes his presence felt throughout the album, but never more so than on track four. All things considered, it is good to have a drummer, and one who’s up to the task of pushing through the wall of sound. Wathen does, and then some, and continues to add a hard underscore to the riffs of his bandmates.
King breaks out of his comfort zone on track seven, “One Tough Customer.” In my mind, I see his fingers working the fret board joyfully, stretching out along the scales and making the notes attest to their worth, and complementing the lyrical interludes well.
What I heard on track three really threw me for a loop. Wafting up through the crevices of King’s power riffs, was a whiff of one of my favorite bands, Morphine. In retrospect, it would be hard to fathom that Terminus Victor hasn’t been influenced by Sandman, if only for the innovative composition of the music. But I think it’s more than that.
Lyrically, this album is laden full of raw emotion and insecurities. From the how-did-I get-here lament, “I’m underpaid and insecure, and no one takes me seriously” to the sad, shoulder shrug, “I’m not afraid that I’m uninsured, I’ve got nothing left to my name,” it’s laid out with all due WTF sincerity. To those who don’t know it, the everyday pain of existence is lubricious, and Kimble needs us to hear that.
My favorite track is “Hopelessly Rehabilitated,” track five. Compelling lyrics over a sparse, solo bass for about 1/3 of the song, seems to be the perfect vehicle for this story, and every song is a story. Flash to Robert Downey Jr. or Amy Winehouse, and you can begin to sense what Kimble might be relating to.
“Don’t make me go back to therapy” tells a story that the album title conveys: the internal struggle between two equally tough options.
Kimble sings,“If they ask how that makes me feel one more time, I’m just walking out” and, “I always find that I’m trying to convince someone else, I’m completely normal.” Who hasn’t been there? You don’t want to cloud those sentiments with crashing cymbals or power chords. No, those lyrics need to get through, and Kimble makes sure that they do.
And that brings us to the last track, track nine. This song is the summation of the album’s dissertation on struggles. “Now All We Need Is a Reason” expresses the realization of the struggle, and what we have learned from it. “Waiting in line, for some peace of mind” suggests we need the accolades of others to validate ourselves. We don’t. But the lesson that we take away is that “it’s not who you know; it’s who you blow, and I won’t be part of it,” and Kimble makes sure to tell you that “you shouldn’t want to be a part of it” either.
“Now all we need is a reason,” is a mature effort from a band who knows what they need to do. And you need to hear this album.
You can check out Terminus Victor at their album release show this Saturday at Mike ‘N Molly’s with Bear Claw, Thundertruck and Nonagon. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $7. For a limited amount of time, the new record is streaming for free here.