by Darren Bergstein, e/i magazine
Percussionist Metcalf marks the end of a trilogy of sorts with NADA TERMA, squaring the circle that began with his previous collaborations with fellow aural tribesmen Roach and Seelig on 2003’s WACHUMA'S WAVE and 2004’s MANTRAM. On this seventy-three minute excursion into the wild frontier of elder music and ancestral shamanism, Metcalf’s manifesto becomes wholly recognizable once the recording gathers steam, his percussive arsenal a baker’s dozen of frame, udu and earth drums, further augmented by the softer accents provided by tapping on clay pots and seed pods. Multi-instrumentalist Seelig surrounds Metcalf’s war-drumming in a cushion of bansuri flutes and plucked dilruba in addition to building some rich harmonic overtones thanks to his own vibrato of a voice. Roach, of course, wraps the whole affair in so many of his typically vivid, color-enhanced tones and myriad, swirling atmospheres it situates the listener right at the center of some ancient, mysterious retreat. Subtly altering moods predominate: what can feel like a powerfully earthshaking music one moment slowly shifts gears into climes both seductive and spiritual. But don’t get the idea that this is some exercise in well-dressed new age tedium — Roach’s heavenly noises time and again provide the foundation for Metcalf’s rock-solid beatstorms, particularly during the first indomitable half hour, the physicality of the drummer’s extraordinarily propulsive thunderstrikes practically a force of nature. Roach and Seelig have no choice but to keep pace by superimposing their own distinctive sonic flavors onto the febrile stew; naturally, the desert shaman’s kaleidoscopic textures reincarnate all sorts of primordial demons, through which feint Seelig’s piercing winds and arcing strings. The lengthy journey the album makes across its expansive running time does it justice — this is true trance music, relentless, hypnotic and very alive.