Every now and then a band will put out an egregious thirty-minute song that could be considered an entire album, one totally epic movement, both, or something else altogether. Half-hour bangers tend to be the ambitious standard fare among the more patient and cerebral black metal and doomy post-rock contingencies—less so among punk bands who display such tight and compact riffage and boots-on-the-ground angst as Galicia, Spain’s Tenue. But the Galician three-piece continue to shatter tropes and expectation and synthesize styles on their blistering new work, “Territorios,” released internationally on March 31st on numerous labels and in various formats.
Calling to mind a vein of late 90s screamo and emo-crust like Circle Takes the Square and City of Caterpillar, Tenue’s sound transitions effortlessly from torturous shrieking clangor to somber and airy interludes that build and swell with supreme dexterity against a lyrical backdrop raging against corruption in Spain, the ongoing viral effects of Eurocentric colonialism and authoritarianism, and, to translate a line of Galician lyrics, the “tireless reproduction of the violence of postmodernity.” Suspenseful arpeggiation concedes to fuzzed-out, tremolo-picked crescendos, and about every six minutes or so listeners will find themselves chewing on a new hook or riff, wondering how they got there.
The great strength of “Territorios” is how gripping and compelling each individual movement is, and how naturally and smoothly each transitions to the next. It’s hard to point out single moments on an album that feels like every second is part of an epic crescendo; the modulation of tension and softness takes the listener to a plane in which time dissolves and recedes back to the timelessness of oppression and human struggles being shrieked behind the knotted veil of such intricate and atmospheric punk rock.
Rarely do rage and patience find such companionship in one another as they do on this album; this is a kind of musical maturity not often seen in screamo, and another reason why Tenue are in a league of their own. You, listener, will feel catharsis, exhaustion, rage, amplification, and augmentation in this album, amidst its blasts and d-beats, its frenetic rising and swelling and exploding guitar work. Tenue have taken the very real and tangible gross materials of punk rock and vaulted them to the stratosphere, where things are no less painful, despite the enormous and sweeping vantage point that few bands have captured in a single cut. Do yourself a favor and make a ritual of carving out half an hour in your day for such an emotionally charged musical experience.
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"Nathaniel Youmans is a poet, essayist, editor, wildlife conservationist, and sound artist based in Washington State. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop. His work has been featured in Talking River, High Desert Journal, Soundings, and elsewhere. At Shouts - Music from the Rooftops!, he is a Contributing Writer. He is also cofounder and editor of The Strewnfield Review as well as the editor for the Washington Falconer’s Association. He makes music under the moniker Lahar. "
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