Melodic death/doom quintet Tethra, hailing from Novara, Italy, return with their stellar third full-length, Empire of the Void. It focuses on two vast realms explored through lyrical themes and creative instrumentation; the boundless internal plights of human nature and the breadth of the human soul, and the expansiveness and surreal wonders of space. Its track titles hold a celestial theme while its instrumentation evokes heavy human emotions. While mainly exemplifying doom metal, the band is also a master of death metal and many compositions are a delightful death/doom hybrid.
Empire of the Void opens ominously with electronic percussion emulating a heartbeat that then welcomes melodic doomy guitar. This ‘intro’ track fades out the guitar to refocus on the eerie heartbeat echoing in emptiness. Only then do we get to the meat of the album. There’s nine original compositions and one cover and said cover is a dark, doomified version of David Bowie’s classic, “Space Oddity.” And it’s beautifully done, altered the right amount to make the feel and instrumentation Tethra’s own without losing the essence of the original piece. Clode Tethra’s vocals here are reminiscent of Bowie, but with a deeper, gloomier, vibrato.
The first track released from Empire of the Void was “Cold Blue Nebula,” released on January 20th, exactly two months prior to the album’s release date. The premiere of the track was accompanied by a music video, available here for ease of finding because easy is better. It features various natural footage—fog rolling through a forest full of evergreens, rolling ocean waves—in monochromatic color and the song itself opens with booming guitar, bass, and drums with head-bangable riffs aplenty. Vocals, falling somewhere between harsh and clean, start things off but cohesively shift from clean melodies to spoken word. This is one of my favorite tracks and the music video just enhances its impact as it is beautiful yet ominous. Also featured in “Cold Blue Nebula” are the talents of guitarists Federico Monti and Alberto Coerezza who show their skills as both doom metal and death metal musicians.
Tethra, formed in 2008, has spent over ten years working hard to develop their unique style as well as create a robust discography with two EPs and now three full-lengths. The band has mastered various genres of metal and fine-tuned their signature style of melodic death/doom on Empires of the Void. This talented group of musicians have created a thematic masterpiece that will stand the test of time. Go see for yourself.