Tetrad is the sound of isolation. Sometimes it is the manic melodies of a repressed teenager playing a grandparent’s harmonica in the bedroom and sometimes it is the listless strumming of a depressed guitarist sitting on the front porch watching cars roll by. It’s both suffocatingly heavy and sombre, yet also beautiful at times too. Tetrad is all the colours of loneliness.
Towards Darkness, the Montreal duo behind Tetrad, are familiarly situated within the doom genre and as such Tetrad feels unusual for a funeral doom album – a genre notoriously slim on originality – as the album is not overloaded with the crystalline melodic lines more common with the genre and the synths here are often eerie rather than sombre, lending a welcome discomfort to some songs. Towards Darkness also emphasise the mighty riff more than most, letting a driving mid-paced rhythm take centre stage for opening track ‘Terraform’. Elsewhere, ‘Weight of Years’ features a straightforward, heavy groove to contrast against the seemingly aimless clean guitars of ‘Forest’ that follow. Beginning with ‘Evolution’ the album changes gears. The songs slow to a more sludgy tempo, riffs seemingly oozing right off the record. ‘Evolution’ and its partner, ‘Evolution End’, are eerie behemoths while ‘Structure’ and ‘The Void’ finally reveal the familiar funeral doom trappings listeners may have been expecting from the start.
There is no quick way to sum up Tetrad by the time it closes; there’s groovy riff-focused doom, abstract interludes, eerie sludge tracks and sombre funeral dirges all thrown in together, yet it never feels inconsistent. Standing out among the field of identical funeral doom acts is in itself a feat, but to do so with such well executed variety is something special.
Tetrad is out now via Solitude Productions and can be purchased here.
Words: Brett Tharp