Throwback Thursday – “How the Lonely Keep” by Terminal

How the Lonely Keep by Terminal

The frigid January of 2006 had me discover the somber, breathy emo rock of Terminal.  By this time, I was very much a fan of the genre, but the darker bent of this album blended perfectly with the short, frozen days of that month.  As with so many other bands, I had heard a single on RadioU in Columbus, but I waited some time to buy the album.  When I finally did, the unique vocals of Travis Bryant sucked me in.

I’ve mentioned in another post how I’m often drawn to music that I know I could never produce or perform myself.  Attempts to sing along quickly proved that I couldn’t match the range or dynamics.  Bryant often teetered the edge between emotional singing and raw yelling without ever nearing the territory of a hardcore scream.  The songwriting was interesting enough to keep me engaged, particularly the drumming.  While the tempo and feel throughout the album vary from peaceful to rocking, the completely vulnerable lyrics are the constant.  Travis doesn’t shy away from the most personal of subjects, even penning lines from a place of depression.

Somewhere in between
Here and the window pane
Life is gray
I stay
Hoping things will change

It’s been weeks
Since I’ve seen the sun
And we become
Colder in the valley
Nothing is real to me

To one with a nihilistic worldview, these could be lines of final despair, but to any believer, they become a lamentation, a cry to God not unlike those found in Psalms.  It’s easy to feel down in the most dismal days of winter.  The month I got the album was a particularly difficult and lonely one for me, bringing girl troubles, overwhelming classes, and failing dreams, among other things.  While many would have chosen more cheery music to distract from the sadness, I cherished the depth and connection with these songs, some of which perfectly expressed my heart.  So not only was this music I would not be able to perform, but in many ways it was music I could not write – not because of complexity, but because I was too afraid to do so.

Terminal was a one-and-done band with How the Lonely Keep being their only album, but that does little to diminish the work in my eyes.  To me it symbolizes a drab January in college and the power of music to express the deepest of emotions.  You can find the brutally honest emo rock of Terminal on Spotify or Amazon.

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