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To-Mera - Exile CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.94 | 145 ratings

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4 stars Lone remainder of the founding group, Julie Kiss, continues to beguile me with her extraordinary voice, and overall I think this album the most accessible of the band's output, but I'm not sure this is a good thing. Gone are the rough edges, the sharp and sudden turns, everything has been smoothed out. I'm not sure if it's the keyboard work, but this album has far less of the abrasive, unpredictableness of either Transcendental or Traces. Instead I feel as if I am listening more to NIGHTWISH or EPICA or WITHIN TEMPTATION. Sometimes the 'new' To-Mera is a positive (I often found some of the radical within-song shifts from previous albums disconcerting or distancing?though never so much as within, say, a UNEXPECT song), but I am also saddened at the loss of quirky surprise. Even the songs I find closest to the 'old' To-Mera are still surprisingly smooth, melodic, and "pretty."

So, herein lies the difficulty of the decision to rate this album: I miss the sudden, drastic mid-song changes in mood, tempo, and/or instrumentation, but I do find myself enjoying the more melodic, smoothness of the new music--especially as added by the keyboard player, who, apparently is from HAKEN. And I do not begrudge the group it's movement away from Heavy Metal. But I do know this: I love the voice of Julie Kiss, I love the bass playing of Mark Harrington, I love the incorporations of Near Eastern instruments and sounds. I do not like the way the drums sound and often find myself questioning the choice of keyboard sounds Often quite cheezy, almost more like PAUL HARDCASTLE).

1. "Inviting the Storm" (3:02) (8/10) 2. "The Illusionist" (7:21) (8/10) 3. "The Descent" (7:54) (7/10) 4. "Deep Inside" (6:46) (8/10) 5. "Broken" (10:04) (8/10) 6. "End Game" (6:13) (9/10) 7. "Surrender" (11:05) (9/10) 8. "All I Am" (12:46) (9/10)

3.5 stars rated up for consistency and continued high level creativity.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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