New Music

TETHER: behind the emotional, melodic hardcore debut “Human Error”

6 mins read
Tether band

New Jersey has once again proven its fertile ground for stirring up profound musical talent, this time by giving rise to TETHER, a promising melodic hardcore band that are putting out their debut EP, “Human Error,” today! The short, yet powerful offering artfully treads the delicate line between melancholy and existential dread.

TETHER‘s quartet – the powerhouse Josh on lead vocals, a compelling guitarist, Serg laying down the bass, and Christian driving the rhythm on drums – offers a refreshingly authentic blend of aggressive pop punk, hardcore, and emo reminiscent of the early 2000s. When they delve into their musical inspirations, the influences are intriguing and diverse, spanning from bands like Linkin Park, The Story So Far, and Counterparts to Four Year Strong.

This eclectic blend infuses their work with a unique sound, invoking a familiar nostalgia while providing a fresh, invigorating spin. The result? A collection of music reminiscent of 00s melodic post-hardcore acts like Hand to Hand and Boysetsfire, filled with the raw energy of emo punk à la Shook Ones, and colored by the emotional potency found in Death Is Not Glamorous. It is an experience that effortlessly bridges the gap between melodic and aggressive, a testament to their creative prowess and boundless potential.

This debut EP is not just a series of songs, but a cathartic exploration of grief, hope, and the complexity of human emotions. In it, TETHER has intricately woven a tale of dealing with the loss of a parent, the ensuing despair, and the subsequent struggle for finding joy and hope in a world suddenly bereft of a guiding light. This narrative is woven into each of the six songs on the album.

Listeners are introduced to a dreamy, ethereal soundscape with a lofty chord progression, painting an abstract dreamscape. This gradually builds into a massive sound, before erupting into an engaging and propulsive breakdown. Taking cues from the likes of Plini and the straightforward punk/pop punk of Sum 41, the transition from soft to hard-hitting is a seamless journey that signifies awakening from a dream into harsh reality.

Tether live by Bri Lynch @brilynch.irl
Tether live by Bri Lynch @brilynch.irl

The album then journeys through a whirl of emotions, seamlessly transitioning from the alt-rock, heavy riff structure of a track influenced by the likes of Charli XCX and Tom Morello, to a pure pop-punk number echoing the sounds of The Story So Far and Action/Adventure. The inclusion of darker, heavier elements in subsequent songs serves as an intense, poignant reminder of the struggle inherent in the healing process.

The penultimate song, a powerful hardcore anthem, offers a punchy riff that clears the stage for a lead guitar melody evocative of A Day To Remember’s ‘Homesick.’ Finally, the EP concludes with a melancholic melody, a testament to TETHER’s ability to create heavy music that can tap into a wider range of emotions than mere anger.

Track by track commentary:


Instrumentally, Sleep was the first song written and has the biggest range of our sound. The opening was an attempt at an ethereal almost lofi kind of sound that explodes into a lofty, still very dreamlike, but massive chord progression. The inspiration for this type of sound to start comes from the softer side of prog rock guitarist Plini’s writing. Other inspirations for this opening came from some experience I had working with an independent artist friend of mine named Luvv Marcus whose sound is in the realm of hip hop, and lofi bedroom type beats.

The song doesn’t really have a traditional structure with parts that repeat, I think of it as having three sections. It starts soft and dreamy, then the driving chord progression for the second part of the song pulls you out of that sleep and catapults you into a breakdown.

This second section is inspired by a lot of the more straightforward punk and pop punk music that I listened to growing up. Specifically in the case of Sum 41, their album Chuck has some great blends of punk and metal and was a huge inspiration for the flow of this part of the song.

The solo section was inspired by the flow of Aaron Marshall of Intervals. As far as lead guitar playing, he is probably my biggest current inspiration. Everything he does is very expressive and smooth.

Grown Cold

In contrast to Sleep, Grown Cold is much closer to a traditional structure for an alt rock/hardcore song. Grown Cold’s opening/verse riff is actually heavily inspired by the Charli XCX song Vroom Vroom. The opening synth riff in that song has a very bouncy and chaotic feel to it that I wanted to bring to our music in some capacity. I love an opportunity to take inspiration from a genre outside of heavy music and make it heavy.

Being inspired by a pop song but also wanting a song that felt true to the types of bands we grew up listening to lent itself well to the structure. The opening riff breaks into the chorus which has a more driving chromatic chord progression layered underneath Josh’s vocals. This kind of sound was heavily inspired by bands like Save Face and the Flatliners. Overall, this is one of the two heavy hitters on the album riff wise and in addition to those mentioned earlier, is a big homage to Tom Morello’s rhythm playing which really inspired me through my early years of playing and continues to do so to this day.


Fractures is as close to a straigt up pop punk song as we get on the EP. It was heavily inspired by the sound of bands like The Story So Far and Action/Adventure. Somewhere between TSSF’s massive chords and A/A’s riff driven sound is where I find a lot of inspiration. Four Year Strong is another band that is usually on my mind or in my headphones when I’m practicing and they usually bleed into my writing. It may be a bit of a departure from the heavier songs that precede and follow it, but it still packs a punch in the verse and sails in the chorus, and this song was one that stuck out to all of us pretty early on as being the single.

Limb to Limb

I didn’t necessarily write instrumentals for the EP with this idea in mind, but now that it’s finished, I think of it in two halves. Limb to Limb, while beginning more aggressively, begins in a very similar way to Sleep. Overall, the second half feels like a repeat of the cycle of the first, but heavier and darker from the offset.

The opening is melancholic and haunting and it breaks into a more deliberate 3/4 groove when the band gets to full volume for the first verse. For the verses and the chorus, it’s a relatively simple progression, but the movement of the lead guitar makes it a lot more exciting. The idea for the bass that Serg expanded on and tightens up to the groove that Christian has with the drums keeps the verses driving until the chorus really opens up. The vibe for this song was more inspired by bands like Intervals and Plini. While it’s not a prog rock song by any means, the melodic structure in the song as a whole and especially the breakdown and solo were an attempt to get a little more technical with playing and writing. Both guitarists I mentioned excel at crafting solos that are both dazzlingly technical and heavily emotional in their melody.



Disintegrate was originally not going to be a part of the EP. We were considering releasing just five songs but felt that we needed one more to really round it out. This song is a culmination of ideas that each member of the band wanted to expand on in a sixth song to set it apart enough from the rest of the EP, but still to fit in with the overall body of work.

At song five of six, this is our heaviest and purest hardcore song. We wanted something that would hit you in the chest in the verses with the chugging riff and then open up in the chorus with the lead guitar melody that is almost dancy, which was inspired pretty heavily by A Day To Remember’s Homesick album. That album was one of my first introductions to hardcore music and is often a huge source of inspiration for writing.

Submerged in Misery

This song was the result of a guitar idea that Josh had and brought to me and I think we both knew it would be the closer when we started writing it. We got together and spent an afternoon hashing it out and demoing on the spot as we went. I think we finished the entire song -if not- most of it, in that session.

Submerged mirrors Fractures as the ending of the second set of three songs, but also the end of the entire EP. The vibe is similar as far as writing, it was very heavily inspired by the easycore and pop punk music from bands like Four Year Strong, Knuckle Puck and The Story So Far.

Despite it being a lighter song in comparison to Grown Cold or Disintegrate, It holds a lot more weight in it’s melancholy melody. Something I love about heavier music with a focus on melody is the vibrant palette of emotions that are possible beyond just anger. Not that I don’t love more straightforward hardcore music and not that it doesn’t have it’s place in our own music, but something in the back of my head with everything I write is whether or not I feel something and can make you feel something even without words to express it. Especially having written the music and lyrics mostly separately, we really wanted each of them to be able to stand on their own and then enhance the other when they were put together.

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Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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