The Heffalumps Are Coming

Sept. 16, 2015


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Meet Thera Roya, blackened doom meets Queens of the Stone Age. These three songs, entitled Unraveling are just...delightful. A strong comparison that comes to mind is another review you can find on our site: that of Bast. Thera Roya keep that same dark, progressive take on the genre that is raw without losing its intricacies.

The thing that impressed me the most from the get go of this EP is just how well they mix both stoner and blackened vibes. Given that these two poles of doom compliment completely opposing aesthetics, this is not an easy balance to maintain. And yet, Unraveling really does give us the best of both worlds. This is the musical, psychedelic equivalent of a bad trip. And the hefalumps are coming.

There are other surprises to be found here as well (and again...this is just 3 songs). You can find some post rock and indie flavor at end of "Body Breaker" that brought to mind Modest Mouse's Moon and Antarctica. Even if you don't love it, this break is short lived. The title track quickly bursts through the floodgates with a primal scream and dissonant distortion. It continues to oscillate between this and Mr. Gnome sounding bass groove and vocal effects.

True to it's name, Unraveling is splitting at the seams. These dualities just make it feel so heavy when things kick into high gear. The production is also a nice balance of finish and rawness. Dat bass counteracts the filthy, somewhat (perfectly) underproduced, vocals. Thera Roya rumble their way to the finish line well ahead of competitors this week. It grips you by the throat.

I know I've been doing a lot of this lately, but you have got to read the bandcamp summary for this album. I had not read it until after I put my notes together, but it really made so much more sense afterwards:

This EP represents the arduous experience which ensues during panic episodes, when mentally the conditions of life unravel within and I'm left recognizing calm energy flowing gently below the insane rubble of my human life. Reflecting after these intense, often suicidal moments, it becomes clear that culture, language, love, work, acquisition, sex, survival are all expressions of this energy, but are secondary to it. They are the form in which humans express energy, not energy itself. This realization has helped me, and it is important to communicate.

We suffer experiences of anomie, detachment, and absurdity within the conditions of our lives, attributing value to illusion (conditions) which creates further detachment. Indian philosophy calls the conditions maya, as in humans operate under a veil of maya (illusion), attributing value & importance to necessary, but ultimately lifeless forms. There is energy speaking through form, the form is not energy, the form is conduit. The energy is not religious or spiritual. It simply is!

There are very few discernible words on this EP, and a lot of guttural screaming for the sake of it. Subconscious discontent, below, beyond and out of reach of language.

It feels great to express this concept so wholly with the artwork, artist statement and overall feeling of the music. I call panic attacks 'unraveling' and they have been a disturbing, often life threatening experience. To talk about it with the band and visual artist, conceptualize, research and present this painful and personal experience has been healing. Everyone in the band (and our artist) had to consider this concept together and find meaning and triumph in the process of expressing. This is what art is about: a powerful conduit for exposing demons, rectifying, and moving on. -Ry, Thera Roya