The Glory of To-Mera
To-Mera is an English progressive metal group that fuses the great stuff of prog metal with jazz and other adventurous qualities for a great form of progressive metal. "Delusions" is their second studio album, and it certainly a killer of an album. Staggering in depth and maturity, the album mixes a great deal of styles into an eclectic and exciting form of progressive metal. With precise musicianship and swinging styles and dynamics, the album never ceases to amaze me, with countless transitions to mellow jazz pieces and intense metal riffing moments. Rich melodies contrast raging guitar riffs and metallic drumming. Overall the album presents a great new vision for the development of the genre.
The album blasts off with the killer track The Lie. Opening with a growling 7-string riff and reaching into the lower registers with a fiery passion and fury, the song has no shortage of ferocious attitude. Fantastic dynamics and great harmonizations between each instruments keeps the song in a constant groove, with swinging themes and solos flying all over the place. A great jazz breakdown adds a fantastic dynamic to the track. Overall a spectacular opener.
Mirage opens again with a roaring and growling guitar riff. With some nice synth and keyboard work, the song swings in and out of dynamics with ease. Again a strong sense of jazz is present in the music, with some fantastic melodic sections present within the music. Some really nice section transitions also compliment the music, with some fantastic soloing by Tom MacLean. The song really has a nice vibe overall, with some fantastic contrast between the melodic guitars and vocals and the screaming riffs.
The Glory of a New Day rushes in with more low-toned riffing, this time with a great polyrhythmic vibe. Some really nice contrast between the jazz piano and heavy riffing is nice, as well as the ethno-fusion brought in to accent the music as well. The song has some of the best songwriting present on the album, with the band bringing out all of their juicy compositional skill. Mixing in djent to the sound as well, the band has so shortage of tricks up their sleeve for sure. Through the countless dynamic changes and great melodic sections, the song quickly emerges as one of my favorites on the album.
Inside the Hourglass opens with a more ambient intro, the first track on the album not to jump start into a heavy riff session. The song has a more soaring metal outlook, with some fantastic high flying riffing to start off the track. The melodic characteristics of the song are superb, showing the bands more creative side, other than just adventurous metal. The strong metal sense is still present, just slightly muddled by the stronger heavy prog feel. Some great moments emerge in the track, and overall it is one of the better tracks on the album.
A Sorrow to Kill is another more melodic track on the album, with some more quiet and heartfelt moments during the music. It opens with a mellow piano piece, before breaking into a quiet mellow melodic section. Away from this, the song effortlessly transitions into a sweeping solo section, comprising of some of the heavier sections of the album, with some of the best solos on the album. Overall, the song is easily another one of my favorites for the album.
Asylum is one of the more avant-garde tracks on the album. In the spirit of avant masters Unexpect, the song mixes dissonance and atonality with jazzy instrumental work. The song encapsulates the adventurous vision of the band, with some crazy mathcore-esque periods mixing with avant atonality and instrumental prowess, to make one hell of a track. It has one of the most avant jazz solo sections, with an amazing sax solo and some of the best jazz fusion instrumental I've heard in the genre.
Fallen From Grace is one of the more haunting tracks on the album. Opening with haunting organ chords, the band sweeps into a great Opethian section, with really nice use of guitar chord progressions and riffing. The song has some of the most pleasant use of female vocals, and is one of Julie Kiss' better performances on the album. The instrumental section is jazzy and adventurous as always, and has some really nice moments.
Temptation is the beautiful melodic closer to the album. Opening with a sublime piano/vocal duo, the song has a strong feeling of classic jazz. Before it breaks into a haunting jazz metal masterpiece, of course. The song soon transitions into a quickly accelerating (literally, the tempo accelerates) beast of a track. Closing the album with some of the better music on the album (it seems like all the music is the better on the album), it fleshes out what To-Mera is all about, melody, metal, and jazz. The instrumental section is a good summary of the band's great musical vision, and the cool use of dynamic in the exiting vocal and instrumental section shows you what To-Mera is all about.
ALBUM OVERALL: To-Mera certainly knows how to write an album. In the vein of Haken (the bands share two members), the music is adventurous and sweeping in nature, and has one hell of a creative vision. The music has countless dynamic, theme transitions, and other goodies it's hard to comprehend the complexity of the composition. The production may seem a bit muddled at time and the timing not perfect, but the album still presents one hell of a ride. I'm certain that I'll be on the lookout for anything new by this band, and you should too! 4 stars.