Chances are if you dug To-Mera's debut Transcendental back in 2006, then their latest Delusions is really going to knock you off your feet. Back again are vocalist Julie Kiss and bassist Lee Barrett, along with guitarist Tom Maclean, drummer Paul Westwood, and Hen on keyboards, combined this outfit does their best to deliver an exciting brand of jazz-tinged progressive metal with a symonic edge.
Touring with both Dream Theater and Emperor in recent years has really seemed to do wonders for To-Mera, as there's a heavier edge to some of these songs here on Delusions, a greater sense of dynamics, than even their stellar debut showed. Opening track "The Lie" will totally floor you, as the band first pummels you over the head with crushing technical guitar riffs, black metal styled blast beats, then suddenly throws in a jazzy electric piano passage supported by Julie's angelic vocals. Don't get too comfortable, as just as you begin to get lulled into a false sense of security the band crashes back in with blinding guitar/keyboard lines and blistering rhythms. Right from the very outset, To-Mera are out to show you that they have a complete arsenal of weapons at their disposal-complex progressive metal, gothic female fronted symphonic power metal, jazz, and black metal. It's all on display here on the first track! Groove laden yet tricky rhythms, complex guitar lines, and wild synth noodling kick off "Mirage", but just when you think this is going to be a barnburner of a prog-metal piece, things again take a different turn, as gentle guitar chords, electric piano, and emotional vocals from Julie take things in a proggy/jazzy, almost UK/Allan Holdsworth direction, then shift back to rampaging progressive/extreme metal fury. Hen's wild Wakeman-meets-Sherinian styled synth solo 3/4 of the way through is a real treat, and leads into a totally crushing finale. Speaking of crushing, "The Glory Of A New Day" is a massive sounding metal piece, with Maclean's monstrous riffs & Barrett's muscular bass lines supported by piano and crashing drum fills before Julie's ethereal vocals come floating over the top. Symphonic progressive metal meets up with jazz-fusion on the complex "Inside The Hourglass", a chops-filled tune that's going to raise a lot of eyebrows within the prog-metal faithful, while "A Sorrow To Kill" is more of a jazzy, gothic piece with brief segments of metal thrown in for additional impact. Check out Julie's passionate vocals on this one-this lady can truly sing folks.
"Asylum", the shortest piece here at just under 6-minutes, starts things off with some classical sounding piano & guitar melodies, before the band picks up the pace with blinding rhythms and chugging guitar riffs. Drummer Westwood is all over the place here, keeping the intricate arrangements in check but laying down plenty of impressive fills along the way. The middle section features dueling solos from guitar, keyboard, sax, and drums, and wouldn't sound out of place on a jazz or fusion release. The band opts for more symphonic flavors on "Fallen From Grace", and mix majestic classical/jazz elements with crushing progressive metal on the exciting closer "Temptation".
Delusions might just be too varied and complex for some, but if you enjoy this sort of thing and have an open mind for something truly different, then this latest from To-Mera has an awful lot to offer. This is a band with a unique vision, and boatloads of talent. It's only a matter of time before the progressive metal masses realize it and embrace them like the future stars they should be.
- The Lie
- The Glory Of A New Day
- Inside The Hourglass
- A Sorrow To Kill
- Fallen From Grace