Terminal is the soundtrack to a world unbalanced, a society spinning out of control and running out of time. A volatile alloy of industrial music and glam rock, with trace quantities of dark techno, synthpop and raw machine recordings, each Terminal anthem is a broadside against the atrocities of our lost humanity. Hard-hitting lyrics address the immorality of authoritarian regimes, the devastation of our planet, along with our spiral into a dark dystopian future. The group’s manifesto debut album, ‘Blacken The Skies’, contains twelve harrowing tracks that hold an unflinching mirror up to a world falling out of balance.
Terminal is the work of singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Thomas Mark Anthony. Born in Pretoria, South Africa and raised in Canada, Anthony is a lifelong anti-apartheid and civil rights activist. When asked to name his musical influences, his first answers are T.Rex and Cabaret Voltaire. Merging those disparate genres for ‘Blacken The Skies’ required experimental surgery of sinister vocals, circuit-bent machinery and ragged guitars, resulting in an industrial/glam rock fusion of barbed-hook songwriting and relentless electronics. The album explores and highlights Anthony’s seemingly contradictory influences, from the near-techno pulse of ‘Riot Shields’ to the borderline nu-metal ‘Godfire’. Sing-along choruses packed with glam rock’s internal and external rhymes serve as warning flares from a world in freefall. Sparse chiming guitar notes ring out over a dense wall of dissonant synths and mechanical rhythms.
For Anthony, his commentary on the world’s ills finds no shortage of new inspiration. Themes of authoritarian regimes brutally silencing journalists, extrajudicial violence, racial injustice, pandemics and climate collapse are – tragically – timeless. “Every track has to be a strong song first and foremost,” he states. “From there, I start shaping the sounds I need to paint the picture.” A darkly beautiful sonic painting it is, too, placing Anthony’s gritty vocals and rough-hewn guitar in echoing, ruined industrial spaces where relentless beats stir a miasma of broken circuitry and vast machines. Each track is intentionally terse. “I don’t think I need to belabour the point”, he adds. “If you can’t say it in 4 minutes, it’s probably not worth saying.”
Expanding on his ‘less is more’ approach, Anthony explains that “I try to pick spots where the guitar’s presence will make an impact. There’s an interesting juxtaposition that happens when you put a Marc Bolan rockabilly riff into a churning machine rhythm. A few notes go a long way.” Eschewing any sort of instrumental histrionics, he comments wryly that “Geordie Walker from Killing Joke has been at it for over 40 years without a single solo. That’s my guy right there.”
For live shows, Anthony is joined by US based drummer Jessica Choi and keyboard player David Ross Phillips to form a powerful and confrontational trio. They are ready to resume activity “when the plague subsides….”
BLACKEN THE SKIES
1 The Course Of Empire
2 Terror Ride
4 Fault Line
7 Dance Fall Pray
8 Needle Park (Time To Die)
9 Riot Shields
12 Collateral Damage
CD / digital