Territories are a four piece band from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are long time friends and former members of the band Knucklehead. After twenty years of playing honest punk rock music together, they continue on as the new band Territories with the intention of thoughtful, melodic and compelling music. In August, Territories released their debut self titled album on Pirate Press Records.
The album starts with the song Numb Somehow. The song begins with some intricate guitars before we are greeted pretty quickly with some group vocals. This lays down a foundation of what to expect from Territories throughout the entire album. And I'm completely up for this. On the second song, Green Eyes, you feel a warmth that you only get from this melodic gruff punk rock. It's everyman music, accessible for everyone and is wonderfully infectious. I enjoyed the added organ on the track, giving the song a subtle extra layer which gives the song a more rounded sound. The paced is quickened on the third song, New Thing. Feeling more like a street punk track, Territories power through this one minute and thirty-four second song without ever slowing down. It's packed full of urgency and energy and will get your blood pumping in no time at all.
The fourth song Quiet Voices was a standout track when I first listened to the album. As soon as the vocals began I found myself heavily invested into the song and quickly wanted to sing along. The simplicity of the chorus works really well with the whole band adding group vocals. This gives a great feeling of inclusiveness between the band and the listener. Up next is another album highlight in the form of The Bigger They Come. This is a social song about fighting the man with the message being "the bigger they come the harder they fall." Vocally it gets even gruffer but also provides the majority of the melody for the track. The gang vocals add so much to the song, making it sound like a big working class anthem. There And Gone brings us to the halfway point of the album. From the beginning, the song makes you think it's going to be huge and it certainly is. Starting with a guitar riff and adding some simple power chords and drum blasts before all coming together and being joined by the vocals. There's definitely a feel of New Jersey punk legends The Bouncing Souls on this track and I have no problem with that. This is a song that I wish that band had written at some point on their past couple of albums.
Heart That Breaks gets the second half of the album started in a rowdy fashion. It's fast paced and has vocals coming from everywhere. It's about convincing someone that they are the only one you want. The catchy chorus gives the song such a joyous vibe that's hard not to get swept up in. Roman Walls might be my favourite song on the album. Going back to that street punk sound that Territories do exceptionally well, they add more of the modern day gruff punk to create something great! Not enough bands blend these two styles together. Roman Walls is jam packed with so much energy and passion that it gives me that feeling in my stomach that's hard to describe but gets me rather excited. On With The Show isn't quite like anything else on the album. The way that the vocals, lead and gang, are recorded seems rawer and less clean than on the other tracks and gives the song a different feel. I don't think it's quite as inclusive as the other tracks on the album and I found it harder to get invested in the song as quickly.
Standing In Place is a big sing-along of a song. It's about the human species not progressing and evolving as we should and still repeating the same mistakes. The repetitive chorus of "whatever happened to the atom bomb?" is where the song really stands out. This will have a whole room of people shouting along with Territories. The penultimate song, Wolves, has a rock 'n' roll vibe to it that gives it a different flavour. The intricate, walking guitar lines on this track put a smile on my face and really shows off some serious skill, particularly on the solo. The vocals maintain the Territories sound we've come to expect throughout the album. Finally we have the song Nulla Victoria which is more of a mid tempo, smartly thought out song. It manages to mix all sides of the Territories sound – clever guitars, infectious vocals and big choruses. This is a great way to finish the album.
It's kind of strange to say that Territories have great promise given that they've been in bands for two decades but on this album there's definitely a feel of excitement for what could come next for the band. It's a great way to introduce people unfamiliar to their previous work to what a talented bunch these guys are. I really enjoyed Territories and I'm now itching to check out older material as well as looking forward to what these guys do in the future.
Stream and download Territories here: https://territoriescalgary.bandcamp.com/releases
Like Territoires here: https://www.facebook.com/territories.punkband/
This review was written by Colin Clark.