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Thera: ‘From The North’
4.5 out of 5
Review By: ScotLef

My wife has a difficult time with restaurant menus.  It’s not that she has trouble with words like Zuppa Toscana or Fougasse, because she doesn’t and it’s certainly not that she doesn’t know what she likes, because she does.  The root of her difficulty is that her tastes are typically unique.  If I had a nickel for every time we revisited a restaurant only to find that the dish she enjoyed the last time was no longer on the menu, I’d be a rich man.  Restaurants, like every other business that exists by selling a product, only offer the products that sell on a consistent basis.  It’s simple a matter of supply and demand.

My tastes, on the other hand, seem to be a lot closer to the average.  This is why I can have a standard go-to dish at pretty much every restaurant we frequent.  I find a certain benefit in possessing a more commonly shared taste for things. It’s because of this fact that I can say with confidence that you’ll like this CD.  Why?  Because I do.  Not convinced?  Alright, sit back and hear me out.

Thera is a female-fronted 5-piece out of Anchorage, Alaska. Yup, you read that right; …  Alaska.  While the thought of the forty-ninth state may conjure up images of harsh landscapes and unforgiving conditions, what Thera brings to the table is anything but cold and lifeless.  Made up of 4 guys and a gal, Thera plays a somewhat gothic-influenced brand of melodic post-hardcore.  Think of it as crossing A Skylit Drive with Saosin and Circa Survive.  I know, right, but that’s as close as I could come.

Driven by the haunting vocals of Stephanie Plate and accented by rasping growls and a pulse-pounding musical style, Thera soars to the heights as often as it claws at the depths.  Truth be told, this 5-song EP is a pretty diverse mix of musical offerings.  Starting heavy, it jumps out of the gate with a bang. Then, over the course of about 21 minutes, slowly pulls back on the reins to ease the listener into a comfortable submission. As I said at the beginning, I really got into this CD.  I’ve been a fan for a while and have gotten a chance to watch this group mature…and mature they have.  If you liked their previous releases, then you’ll love this EP.  It’s more.  I\’s better.  It’s refined.  It’s a step up in every department.  From the song structure to the sonics, “From The North” is Thera at their best.  If you\’re new to the group, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find here.

Lyrically, they’ve never been a band to break the door down with an overt evangelistic message but they always seem to weave captivating themes with steady spiritual undercurrents.  They also never shy away from the darker possibilities that life often presents. Thera deftly manages to maintain the reality of hope and grace that so many need to hear today.

Deciding on the standout track was a tough call.  Each track touched me in a different way.  If I had to choose one, and I guess I do, it would be “We Were A House Fire”.  This may be partially due to the fact that I watched the video to the song while doing this review.  Adding a visual component to a song definitely trumps up its impact, but, regardless of all the possible reasoning behind my decision, it really is just an awesome song.  A close second would be the EP’s closing track, “Overcast”, which reminded me a great deal of the sullen brooding of the likes of Future of Forestry.

Overall:  I always get a kick out of customer reviews on sites like iTunes that are posted just days after a CD is released and say something along the lines of  “I sure hope they release another album soon”.  While it sounds somewhat absurd and more than a little bit naive, I can certainly appreciate the sentiment. In the case of Thera’s latest 5-song EP, “From The North”, I think the sentiment is well deserved. This really is a great release.  Tightly produced and showing new maturity in every area, it leaves me anxious for more as well.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Reviewed by: ScottLef

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Thera – We Were a House Fire (Official Music Video)

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