Nothing lasts forever. Despite having a very sweet opening run to 2020, I knew that I’d come back down to earth. Three “very good” albums in a row, featuring strong songwriting, production, and vocals, was honestly more than I could have hoped for. Eventually, the system will reset itself, and something mundane will drip down the basement pipes to my desk. Enter TerrifianT, who, yes, capitalize that last “T.” Not only that, they go by stage names, which immediately means you can’t take this band seriously (although I do enjoy their names, the best of which is their bass player, Sniffany Bags). I also saw a horrible video of theirs on YouTube, so I was braced for the worst when I pressed play on their self-titled debut, Terrifiant. Does it live down to expectations?
Terrifiant opens with “Steel for Life,” which, as my fellow writers are all too aware of, is also the closing line of our daily pledge1. It’s a three-minute instrumental, which makes it both a throwaway song and, because of its lack of vocals, the best song here. Guitarists ZZ Slop and Slime Valdi fade in with discordant feedback, followed by Alcoloic with a militant march on the drums and Sniffany Bags bringing up the rear. One gets the sense that these guys are aiming for an NWoBHM style, but that all goes out the window on “Devil in Transport,” a fast and dirty speed metal number that introduces us to Lord Terrifiant on the mic, who attacks his vocals with more than a little reckless abandon. This is pretty much the same tack that Stälker take with their songs, only those guys have the songwriting chops to pull it off. Here, well, they have cute names.
It’s not all completely awful. “Bed Queen” is anchored by a killer old-school speedy riff, and the band actually sounds pretty good here, when Lord Terrifiant isn’t caterwauling his way through the lyrics or the guitars (and vocals) aren’t clipping like mad. The guitar solos are damned fine as well; there is true talent buried somewhere in this morass, although all I hear when the song is over is the ringing in my ears from the Lord screaming “Bed Queen!!!” over and over. “Metal and More” also has a pretty decent riff, and the epic “Iron Mountain” introduces an organ, which seems oddly ambitious versus the rest of the songs here.
The real doozy, however, is the final song, an absolute dismemberment of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker,” with perhaps the worst vocal performance in recent memory. It’s so bad it has to be heard—and in fact a live version of this was my first taste of the band. I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, but it’s committed to tape for all of us now.
TerrifianT as a band, and the album as a whole, harken back to the early 80s metal movement, when labels like Roadrunner and Bronze would be stumbling all over themselves to sign any act that played fast and loud. Sadly, these guys take it a bit too far. Terrifiant sounds like it was mastered for cassette distribution. Drums have absolutely no balls, sounding like they were recorded on one cheap podcast mic, while the guitars and vocals clip incessantly. Combine the offensive mix with the even more offensive vocals and you’ve got a pretty unpalatable plate, which is sad because when Lord Terrifiant isn’t making my ears bleed the talent amongst the musicians is audible.
The moments of actual quality songwriting are few and far between, but they do exist, and ZZ Slop and Slime Valdi display plenty of competent musicianship throughout Terrifiant, making me think the band could do some good work if they weren’t so hooked on the gimmick. However, if this is the direction they plan on taking for future releases, you can count me out.