FLYER Q&A: Terminus to play three Fayetteville shows in September and October

Photo by Daniel Caldwell

Fayetteville progressive metal band Terminus have just released their second record titled Fortune Looming, and it’s my favorite local release of 2018.

It’s a bold and adventurous record that cements Terminus’ place as one of the Fayetteville greats. The record confidently blasts out of the confines of genre with reckless abandon, it’s technical metal with sharp pop hooks.

I was lucky enough the see the band’s (Sebastian Thomas – Guitar/Vocals, Julian Thomas – Guitar/Vocals, Eric Watson – Bass, Scott Wood – Drums) early shows at The Lightbulb Club, and it’s rare to witness a group grow as quickly and uniquely.

Teminus play on Sept. 8 at Smoke & Barrel with Bones Of The Earth. And they play two huge shows at George’s Majestic Lounge in October, opening for The Sword (Oct. 2), and Russian Circles (Oct. 16).

I talked to singer/guitarist Julian Thomas about Terminus, and here it goes…

Who: Terminus / Bones of the Earth
When: Saturday, Sept. 8
Where: Smoke & Barrel Tavern, Fayetteville
Cost: $5
More: See the Facebook event

Who: The Sword / Terminus / The Salesman
When: Tuesday, Oct. 2
Where: George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville
Cost: $18-$20
More: See the Facebook event

Who: Russian Circles / Terminus
When: Tuesday, Oct. 16
Where: George’s Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville
Cost: $15-$17
More: See the Facebook event

How would you describe your sound to a stranger?

Prog-sludge rock probably wouldn’t mean much to a stranger, haha. It’s difficult for us to put our finger on our sound because we don’t think about playing within genres and sounds. We just try to create riffs and melodies and hooks that are exciting to us. People have called it a weird combination of Queen and Black Sabbath or even a viking death march fronted by Geddy Lee.

Was there an original concept that started the band? Has it changed now that you’ve toured and grown?

I think when the band began it was all about being as loud and heavy as possible. Seb used to do a kind of Matt Pike from High on Fire growl and as a three-piece it was all about filling as much space as possible. He (Seb) used to play a semi-hollow 12 string to try and emulate a fuller guitar sound, which definitely turned some heads. With the addition of Julian on guitar for our debut LP Safe Travels, See You Never (2016) we started to be able to do more – guitar harmonies, dueling solos – fun stuff that really let us put more effort into putting on an exciting live show beyond just being as loud as possible. You can find a sound in the beginning and put out 10 albums just doing and honing that but I think with each record we want to move beyond what we tried previously.

You’ve just released a new record – any stories about the writing and recording you’d like to share?

It was midnight of the very last night of recording and we were scrambling to finish up the final touches. Everyone was exhausted and probably a little bit delirious. Our producer (Kris Hilbert of Legitimate Business in Greensboro, NC) asked us if we wanted to record some rain stick for a part, which we wholeheartedly agreed to. I don’t think he even hit record on it because when we walked back into the control room he told us that when a band agrees to put a rain stick on their record it’s his litmus test for if they’re done and they need to step away and finish the project.

What Fayetteville bands do you enjoy playing with? Who should we be listening to right now?

Unfortunately, two of our best buds’ bands, Auric and Barren, recently ended as projects. Fortunately, several of the members have reformed as Bones of the Earth and I would definitely say to keep an eye on those guys because if their past projects are anything to go on, it’s going to be something special. As far as sharing the stage recently with bands, any time we have a bill with Groaners it’s going to be a good time. Brian Abel, James and and those guys are super fun to share the stage with and they always bring it 100%. And any of the Tape Dad cassette releases gets a big co-sign from us – Witchsister, Sad Palamino, Dylan Earl, The Chads. Major shoutout to The Chads because they have always been one of our favorite locals.

Your next show is a cassette release show for Fortune Looming. What can we expect at the show? How did you get connected with the Tape Dad label?

We’re going to be playing some songs off Fortune Looming that we haven’t performed live yet, some of the deeper cuts that we want to give some life to as part of the live show. We’ll also be performing a few as yet unrecorded songs for fun. We have super short attention spans and our minds immediately turn to the next project or release as soon as we put out a record. We’ve never played pieces live before they’ve been recorded so this is kind of a new move for us.

Kurt (Tape Dad) approached us shortly after we released Fortune Looming. I was excited when I heard from him because I had always wanted to put our music on a format other than CD. People are always asking if you have cassettes and vinyl on the road so it’s nice to be given that opportunity. I really love what Kurt is doing with the Tape Dad label – it’s giving bands in a smaller market the chance to put out music on different formats for a really great price.

What are your plans for the fall? Any 2019 plans in the works?

We are working on a few short tour runs in the fall and winter. We also have some really great local shows as well, Sept. 8 at Smoke & Barrel obviously, and a couple of sick George’s shows – Oct. 2 with The Sword and Oct. 16 with Russian Circles. We grew up as kids being huge fans of The Sword when we started getting into heavy metal so the chance to share the stage with them is a dream come true. Seb and I saw them in 2013 in the Netherlands and if you had told me then that someday I would be opening for them I would have told you that you were insane. Russian Circles is going to be nuts, too! Huge shouts out to Ruben (Pointless Promos) and others for keeping shows like this coming in to Fayetteville.

2019 is going to be spent on the road as much as possible getting our music in front of as many people as possible. Much of our touring has been spent in the South and Mid-west so I’d really like to make it all the way to the West and East coasts. We’ve already began writing our third record as well. We don’t have any solid plans for when we want to head back to the studio, but it’s already in the works.

Specifically for the sake of argument, can you rate the Big 4 of Metal from your favorite to least favorite?

Mudvayne, Saliva, Alien Ant Farm, POD?