Releasedate: 29 september 2023
After releasing two tracks earlier this year, TerraDown is back with a vengeance with their latest EP, Checkmate. Coming in hard, guns blazing, with a video clip as well, this band is ready to take over the scene once more. Winners of the Metal Battle before, we expect a lot from this melodic metal band from Breda. Let’s tune in and check out their latest EP as we review Checkmate.
It has been a while since TerraDown came with some new music. Their debut album dates back to 2020, a difficult time for musicians all around. Listening to the lyrics for Checkmate some of those hardships have transferred over in their music. Lyrically and musically Checkmate displays a lot of anger about the current state of the world and the writers’ state of mind.
The first thing that strikes me about this EP is the audio quality. The recording and the mixing are expertly done. The whole EP feels very nicely balanced even on different pairs of headphones. It makes the music feel a lot more solid as the massive wall of sound hits your ears. Their previous album, Judgement, was balanced nicely as well, but Checkmate sounds a lot more clear and crisp. The guitars are clear but the chugging and the melodies never overpower the vocals. The driving drums are accompanied by a clear bassline. I wouldn’t expect less from a band that has made it as far as Wacken Open Air. I’d dare to say that probably every European metalhead’s dream, is to perform at that festival (well, maybe not last year, but I digress).
Checkmate starts off with Revive the War. Right from the start the energy is high, and TerraDown isn’t letting this go the entire EP. The groovy riff from the verse gets broken up by the open chorus, only to dive back into the fast-paced headbang riff from the verse again. TerraDown are master of combining different influences together to a cohesive sound. While mainly melodic death metal, the groove- and progressive influences are certainly noticeable, as they were previously, but not to a point where one overpowers the other. It’s a tight balance, but TerraDown manages to maintain it. In this track particularly, a good example of this would be the bridge at about two-thirds in.
As for the Last Decree, speaking of influences, the guitar riff certainly reminds me of Gojira. It kinda has that dark, deep vibe that Gojira has as well. The chorus however is unmistakable TerraDown though, going back to their main genre melodeath. Again this track has a very interesting break at the end of the song that takes this track just over the edge of the prog realm, which builds up to an epic ending of the track.
Bloodied and Broken might be the heaviest track on this EP, both in music and in lyrics, eventhough Revive the War has the heaviest bridge. The timing of the vocals complements the guitars very well in this track. The open chorus again gives us a little breathing room, only for the music to dive back into the groovy verse. The song kicks off midway though with the almost staccato ‘Pain, Hate, Crash, Break, Our graves are Our mistakes’.
The final track of this EP is the title track Checkmate. From the first notes, it’s a party song, however, with a serious message. This track has hit potential with the various hooks and easy-to-follow lyrics. Lyrics that will speak to a broad audience, talking about control issues and mental health. The video clip really adds to this message and shows the duality we all struggle with. It’s easy to pick this track as my favorite of the EP, however, I like Revive the War a lot too. Checkmate however has a nice breakdown and a clean bridge, that adds to the emotional message, making it a commercial hit track.
TerraDown’s Checkmate as a whole is a great EP. Every single track is worth listening to at least a few times, and I expect a lot of people enjoying these tracks. It’s very easy to listen too, with enough extra’s to make it interesting. Especially the title track Checkmate has the potential of going viral.
- Revive the War
- The last decree
- Bloodied and broken