I haven’t gotten my hands on much trve metal of late beyond the massive overdose administered by Atlantean Kodex in September. That was enough to keep me sacking and pillaging like a berserk Vandal for months, but a booster shot of trveness is never a bad thing. Northern Ireland’s epic heavy metal act Terminus is set to deliver such an inoculation this week with their sophomore release A Single Point of Light. Operating as a power duo, Terminus is led by multi-instrumentalist and chief writer David Gillespie with James Beattie handling vocals. Together they raid the same tombs as Visigoth, Eternal Champion and Atlantean Kodex, though instead of macho tales of swords, shields and sirens, they specialize in macho sci-fi themes. That’s a distinction without much difference as the tunes scream olde school epic heavy metal and the duo are adept at conjuring the spirits of metal’s past as well as harnessing modern elements for a chest-thumping,
sword light-saber swinging good time.
Fans of trve metal will find everything they normally expect here. You get that blend of NWoBHM gallop teamed with the grit of early American metal and a large dollop of machismo on top. Opener “To Ash, to Dust” is like a Visigoth and Eternal Champion chili with extra beans, and some Cirith Ungol on the side. It’s full of olde school harmonies and classic metal vocalizing, and it delivers the meaty goods. “Harvest” ups the epic quotinet, layering in copious Ironsword and Doomsword (basically all the swords) influences for a rousing peon to marching, fighting and conquering. Beattie’s vocals shift from Manowar-esque crooning to Grave Digger like roaring here and it works in an over-the-top way that’s both awkward and endearing. Even at 8-plus minutes, the song manages to feel breezy and battle-ready with a lot of little hooks and fun moments. More accessible still is standout “As Through a Child’s Eyes” which has a huge chorus that sticks like a throwing ax, reminding me of the better moments of Angel Witch‘s discography.
The album winds out with the righteous war anthem “Cry Havok” which is so 80s it hurts my elderly silverback in a good way, and the titanic 10-minute closer “Spinning Webs, Catching Dreams” may be disastrously titled but it’s a rock solid epic metal yarn with enough interesting goings on to justify its long-winded runtime. There’s a lot of Atlantean Kodex in this one and everything feels bigger, bolder and more grandiose, allowing the minutes to slip by without the song ever feeling tedious or overlong. None of the seven cuts are bad, but the middle of the album does have a slight sag in quality which keeps the album from reaching that next level above good. Still, there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on here, and these guys are essentially Ireland’s answer to Visigoth and very nearly as good.
David Gillespie handles all the instruments and does it well. His riffing is solid and his harmonies are ideal for the genre, capturing that 80s sound in a bottle while infusing them with just enough modern crunch and power to really put them over. There’s a good bass presence that lends the material a touch of Steve Harris swagger and his drumming is solid as well. James Beattie’s vocals fit the material well, reminding me of Visigoth‘s Jake Rogers at times. My only complaint is that I’d like a bit more variety to his delivery. He gets more edgy during “Harvest” and at points during “Spinning Webs, Catching Dreams” but otherwise sticks to classic old school crooning the rest of the time. Shaking it up a bit more would lend more dynamism to the songs and provide more forceful accent points.
Terminus is a talented trve metal act and A Single Point of Light is an enjoyable trip to the times of honor, glory and laser blasters. A minor tweak here and there and this would be a real Visigoth killer, but regardless, this is a band to watch for fans of the genre. I’m on board and flying the banners. Find me when it’s time for the next great crusade against the heathens, heretics, infidels and Gungans.1