Back in 2009 the Inner Terrestrials whetted everyone’s appetites by releasing an excellent four song pre release EP to Tales of Terror. After 3 years of anticipatory salivating, the album is finally ready and it was definitely worth the wait. It’s hard to believe that their first LP iT! was released sixteen ago in 1996 but the Inner Terrestrials have remained impressively faithful to their original sound. Satisfyingly thick distortion sandwiches prickly ska on nearly every track and the album is peppered with welcome descents into the experimental realms of dub. Jay has a real knack for fiddling about with upstrokes, managing to squeeze in quirky flourishes and cheeky slides which keep chord sequences lively and interesting. Fran and Paco keep everything in check, providing solid bass and pounding drums throughout the album. Aside from “Battlefield” which features Jay’s haunting tin whistle and Cheggers’ bouzouki, the band’s folk influences are perhaps less overt than they were in iT! with “Free the Land” or X with “Mountain Of Led”. Tales of Terror does however maintain a fairly healthy balance between the more hardcore and the lighter songs. “Run Tings” is cheerful, despite its dour subject of social control, and is sprinkled with soundbytes, while the choppy distorted upstrokes of “Progress” are guaranteed to get any crowd skanking furiously. “Heaven’s Wrath” is possibly my favourite track which glides effortlessly between hardcore punk, dub and ska and is everything an Inner Terrestrials track should be: angry, dubby and thoroughly stompable.
I remember first hearing Jay’s distinctive vocals on Suicide Bid’s “When Morning Comes”, crammed in between Babar Luck and Johnny One Lung, and they were the reason why I started to explore the Inner Terrestrials in the first place. Tales of Terror perfectly captures their unsettled, miserable quality which is as if Jay is singing through a sigh; accentuated by downtrodden harmonies in the fantastic “Law Dealers” and punctuated with contrasting gruff, angry snarls in “Dark Scar”. The lyrics are brimming with political disdain; passionately decrying outmoded laws, speaking out against the UK’s dubious foreign policy and rejecting aspects of society few have barely questioned. Environmentally conscious songs such as “Progress” reinforce the Inner Terrestrials’ deep concern regarding man’s relation to the land; an issue explored in earlier releases in tracks such as “Earth Must” and “Middle Oak”. Despite its bleak subject matter, Tales of Terror contains subtle messages of solidarity together with a rationale for change, encouraging people to stand up for themselves in order to make a difference. The Inner Terrestrials have well and truly delivered on their latest release; inspiring, triumphing and making you want to have a bloody good dance as well.
Tales of Terror is available to buy from the Inner Terrestrials online store for £8. Make sure you catch the Inner Terrestrials headlining the Relentless Garage on Saturday 21st April with support from The Filaments, Suicide Bid and Jakal. Best ticket prices I could find are available here.