Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 2/26/2008
posted on 5/2008 By:
It's rare for a progressive metal band to truly make waves from the get go, but To-Mera was able to make a reasonable dent in the prog arena in 2006 when they released their debut album, Transcendental. As with any band it always takes a while to kick up some steam, but the female fronted band from the United Kingdom, was able to garner some pretty favorable reviews. Listeners found the band working in an interesting mix of technical, Dream Theater/Meshuggah-esque riffs melded with influences from more extreme circles (mostly in riffing and drum patterns) with heavy hints of jazz scattered throughout. Unfortunately for some, myself included, the songwriting was rather convoluted, forcing sections together to create an illusion of "forward thinking" music, leaving some songs without flow and without a theme tying them together. After many listens songs seemed to run together as it became evident the band were following some kind of formula to their structures: heavy section here, jazz section there, melodic chorus here and voila!
Two years later and the band is dropping album number two. Upon the initial listen it's quite clear that To-Mera have grown as songwriters but the overwhelming sense of combining opposing musical ideas is still prevalent. Jazz sections get thrown around often and while many will most definitely find their jaws dropping, I still can't help but groan and proclaim it as sounding forced, not to mention many of these sections sound like third rate jazz imitations. Aside from this though, the Dream Theater and Meshuggah influences seem to be heightened, especially in many off timed sections and touches of dissonant riffing. Vocalist Julie Kiss has a beautiful voice and her vocal lines are starting to remind me more and more of Johanna DePierre from Amaran.
When the listener comes back to the album on multiple listens, the formulaic songwriting starts to become apparent again. While the album and songs flow much better this time around, it's apparent that the band members have some kind of idea of what a "To-Mera song" is, it must include certain elements and must be played within a specific order. While I tend to look past such issues with other bands, most other bands at least save a few tricks up their sleeves for later, with Delusions, everything's laid out in the opening track, "The Lie". The heavy opening riffing, the Meshuggah-like faster riffing, Dream Theater inspired solos, random jazz section, you name it, whatever To-Mera can do is in here. When listening to the album it's probably this track that sticks out the most, simply because it's first and unfortunately, even after repeated listens, I have trouble picking out the differences between each song.
Delusions is an enigma to me. On one hand, taking each song on its own, it's clear the band have a sense of self and have grown as songwriters but it's still just not good enough when taken as a whole. Many a prog and avantgarde fan will no doubt be pulled in by To-Mera's enticing mix, but I can't say the excitement surrounding the band by said fans is necessarily warranted.
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