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Review: To-Mera - Transcendental

Label: Candlelight Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 52:39
Tracks: 8
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: March 29, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating

Rated 4.67/5 (93.33%) (3 Votes)

I first heard of this band in Terrorizer magazine, who were lauding their 2005 demo. When I found out they'd be supporting Emperor in London last year, I went out and picked up their then recently released album as a blind purchase. I was slightly dubious before hearing anything, as on various message boards I'd read about comparisons with Lacuna Coil, Nightwish and Within Temptation by a few morons – the thought of me wasting money on an album by this sort of band chills me to the bone. However, I took the chance seeing as Lee Barrett (he formerly of early Candlelight and Elitist records fame) was involved and it turns out all these comparisons seem to have been solely based on the fact they have a velvet throated female vocalist. I don't really enjoy female vocals in metal at all, but Julie Kiss (formerly of Hungarian gothsters Without Face), certainly has that little something to melt even the most hardened metaller's heart, which coupled with the harder edge of the music makes for a winning combination.

Ahem! OK!! Enough gayness and down to the fucking metal – fuckin' grrrrr! Seeing the band live was an intense experience, and looking around the crowd's faces I saw as much confused headscratching as I did headbanging, which made me glad I had become fully acquainted with their material beforehand, as on album they paint an impressive prog metal journey throughout, with uber technical guitar play, weird polyrhythmic time signatures, melancholic acoustic interludes and double bass driven blast beat enhanced crushery. To-Mera actually have more in common with Emperor than any of the above mentioned female fronted bands, with progressive arrangements drenched in drama, intrinsic almost Cynic-like riffs blending amongst the empiric auras, keyboards fluttering over and around riffs note for note before going off on their own forward thinking odysseys. There's such a wide range of musical scope here that it's difficult to mention it all without this review turning into a 'War and Peace' like epic itself, at times even managing to come across like a more accessible female fronted Spiral Architect with a little jazz guitar and piano thrown into the mix. This may sound like a complete mess, but once you actually hear the album a few times, it soon makes perfect sense.

All in all, I never thought I'd say this, but I really like this album. So what if it destroys my more-metal-than-thou exterior, or shows a chink in my 'British steel' armor? It's killer. It has more integrity and musical ability than most, seamlessly blending touching sadness with balls out arse-tearing metal. A highly worthy album from a band who managed to change my perception of female fronted bands through sheer musical brilliance.

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