Company: Candlelight Release: 2008 Genre: Progressive Reviewer: Raising Iron
For the metal connoisseur looking for something very unique
To-Mera's sophomore effort, Delusions, is an enterprising excursion for the adventuresome (prog) metal fan. Starting as recently as 2005 and hailing from the UK, these guys (and girl) are making waves not only in proghead circles but also metal in general; the reason being is their uncanny ability to fuse strong elements of jazz into their metal revolutions. There are even subtle, gothic underpinnings in the whole affair.
The album starts off with a riff directly out of Dream Theatre's modern-day playbook in a song called "The Lie", and by the time it hits the chorus you may be wondering if its To-Mera's Julie Kiss singing or if Christina Scabbia is moonlighting. At times the similarities are remarkable, but Julie's vocals wander into traditional jazz territories throughout the album, allowing her to make her own singular mark on the recording. This is often accompanied by meandering keyboards again using jazzy scales. Now, lest ye think To-Mera are some kind of plagiarists, think again, these are merely points of reference as they are really forging new ground here, the idea of melding jazz and metal has probably not occurred to many, and of those only a few would even try (or have the skill set to!). The compositional movements are sometimes seamless, sometimes not, and given the juxtaposition of styles presented that's not an easy task. Oft times the changes can be a bit jarring though, see track six entitled "Asylum". The movement at about the two/two and a half minute mark reminds me of Lisa Simpson going off in her own direction much to the chagrin of the other players in the opening credits of that venerable TV show. Yes, it is a sax solo, and no, the melody is nowhere near being a rip-off, it's just the composition of the movement that will have you thinking such.
The musicianship is absolutely outstanding with far-out time changes wrapped around a wealth of styles, with every instrument breathing open and freely, but as usual with most progressive albums, the production is beyond squeaky clean, which by definition makes the listening more of a cerebral event than a headbanging one.
There is a lot of good stuff crammed into this 62 minute trek, allowing you to discover new things upon repeated listens, but it's clear this is only their second album. Songs can feel disjointed at times but hey, like I said earlier, the fusion of disparate styles being mashed together is not an easy job, and I'd imagine there isn't anybody out there who attempting such could come close to how well To-Mera do it. All in all, a worthwhile purchase for the metal connoisseur looking for something very unique, and in today's glutted prog world, that's not an easy task either.
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