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5 stars This is a killer follow up album to their debut, Transcendental. While I prefer their first album more, this one is still great. It took several listens for me to fully appreciate it because there is a lot here to enjoy. Very prog-metal sound. They have songs that are all over the place but they are all generally heavy. I f you like technical prog-metal, I highly recommend this group. One of my favorite discoveries!
Report this review (#167971)
Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars A fine female-fronted prog-metal album from this British-Hungarian band. Tom MacLean's guitar work shines throughout the whole album, alongside Julie Kiss excellent vocal style. Mature compositions and intricate, complex and surprising arrangement make this an appealing album. I've listened to this one about 40 times, and I still find new stuff all the time. Track development is almost always unexpected, and the music leads the listener in untraveled paths again and again. It's clear that the jazz influences from MacLean and Hen (keyboards) have contributed to the end product, which is still free-minded, genre-hopping and therefore so interesting.

The album opener, The lie is a stunning display of style and arrangement. The two closers, Fallen from Grace and Temptation are also very well written and executed. I know that MacLean is a SIKTH fan, but his melodic playing and contributions are much more digestible and dynamic when compared to the angry, loud stuff that SIKTH is making.

The only weak spot are Kiss's lyrics, which are a bit too obscure. Other than that, this is a fine addition to prog-metal fans willing to handle a delicate singer, smart progressive guitars and a few jazzy influences spread out on the table. When compared to their debut Transcendental (2006), it's exactly on the same level.

Report this review (#194368)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must say that I was apprehensive about rating this album because I did not want to offer any opinions without fully grasping the overall feel of the album. After owning and listening to this album for several months, I can say with confidence that to-mera has produced an amazing album. I love the rhythmic instrumentals and lush soundscape created by the band. The composition can be technical and powerful at times, with interludes of really chilled jazzy sections. Some bands have problems transitioning time signatures and BPM, but this album seems to flow very nicely. I wasn't too keen on Julie's vocals in the first album. They seemed a little out of place and borderline annoying. I feel the vocals in this album complement the music much nicer and the delivery doesn't sound forced. Overall, this album has everything to be desired in a progressive album (at least for me anyway), and I highly recommend it, especially if you liked the first one.
Report this review (#205319)
Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It is the first time that I hear To-Mera and the experience was more than interesting. First of all,I would like to say that I do not like bands with female voices but in this occasion I must do an exception. Julie's vocals are ethereal and perfectly fit with the music. So,what about the music? The guys are very technical and they combine different genres in their playing. Progressive metal,extreme metal,jazz and oriental elements. This blend is very persuading and it is not at all boring. If you like aggressive progressive as I calll it,then To-Mera are the perfect example. Their 4 first songs are groovy and powerful. One of the highlights is the first song, "the lie". It initiates aggressively but suddenly it calms down with a jazz aesthetic and it alters again in a more harsh image. One of the best songs for 2008. This band has many potentials and I hope that they will evolve more in the future. Because of their lack of experience I will rate them with 5 stars in stead of 4 which could have been the mark for this album if they had released more CD's. But as an only second work,they should be applauded for this excellent piece of progression.
Report this review (#220741)
Posted Friday, June 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars 2 years after the debut album TRANSCEDENTAL,TO-MERA re back with a new album,even more spectacular and better structured!On DELUSIONS,the Brits are pushing further the boundaries of imagination and they deliver here something that can be considered SENSATIONAL!Having serious technical capacities and knowledge,TO MERA are on this album really unleashed!Long tracks,with long musical,instrumental passages and a total freedom of expression in mixing so many musical styles-that's exceptional!They have the same ability and wisdom to make a clever mix between pure metal,jazz,prog,trash and even death rhythms-all is definitely very metalized!It's stunning how the song is keeping it's cohesion and monolythic form in the end!Amazing imagination-that's obvious!Julie Kiss is more natural and inspired with her vocals and the sound of the album is better then on TRANSCEDENTAL!Having this idea of mixing,combiing so many different musical styles in the same track can be discouraging or challenging-and it is-ut i the end we have the feeling to discover a new musical direction with this band!They pushed the boundaries of imagination and freedom of musical expression to an unbelieveble high level!Only if you have serious and stong technical capacities it is possible to start composing and performing such complex and difficult to perform music!4.5 STARS for a fabulous album,something difficult to dig,but the effort worth it plenty!
Report this review (#291154)
Posted Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow, these guys take alot of digesting.

To be honest, they do confuse me alot, but also they have a certain je ne sais quois that I love about them.

Their abrupt and at times random song structures are made up by their amazing Steely Dan like changing vocal melodies, the odd timing and 7th string chugging you would find in Sikth, and the nice dreamy almost Imogen Heap like vocals.

It is good to hear a female vocalist behind the music, because a male vocalist would just sound weird.

The keyboardist of my band likes this band alot, but she says she can't get into them because their so random and the vocalist sounds like she has to guess the melodies, which is a little true.

Other than that, this is an amazing album, and really does take you on a fractal journey.

1. The Lie - Mixing black metal and jazz (no really, blastbeats and rag time, it's true), this song does wonders for your ear. A chorus also comes up one or twice. 9/10

2. Mirage - My favourite song on the album. That off time groove is amazing, and the vocals are very dreamy. The isntrumental work is flawless. 10/10

3. The Glory Of A New Day - The darkest song on the album. Very eerie, but very affective. 9/10

4. Inside The Hourglass - At times, very dreamy, but the rest is a visceral cerebal groove. 9/10

5. A Sorrow To Kill - Very eeire, but some fierce guitar work. 8/10

6. Asylum - The most eccentric song on the album, with weird circus based riffs, and odd time changes and weird genre touches. 9/10

7. Fallen From Grace - The most progressive song on the album. Quite intricate. 8/10

8. Temptation - The piano intro is beautiful and Julie's vocals add to the solemn eerie beauty of the song. The rest is a complete mind mess. The ending is very epic. 10/10

CONCLUSION: Some people won't be able to handle them, but I see them like sudoko, challenging and exciting.

Report this review (#292330)
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
Heavy Prog Team
4 stars Approaches like this followed in TO-MERA's Delusions are quite rare in today's progressive metal. At my first acquaintance with the band, I was pleasantly surprised at the mixture of influences, the heaviness and the carefully-worked gloomy atmosphere.

Indeed in this album, there are several musical paths that the band takes and executes the various pieces with splendid musicianship. TO-MERA is arguably a somewhat different female-fronted band to the majority of those in the scene. Even from the beginning of the album, The Lie summarises what is to be experienced in the rest of the record; sophisticated prog-metal mixes with jazz, gothic, avant-garde and extreme metal. The result should not leave the listener untouched. Although there is a strong resemblance to Dream Theater riff-wise (especially in the opening track), the band expands to sounds that remind of Machine Head, Mekong Delta, Symphony X, Rush, Emperor, Lacuna Coil, Nevermore, Arcturus - really a coming together from all the aspects of modern metal and in no particular order.

The sequence of styles is actually random, with jazz or acoustic breaks following extreme metal blast-beats. The voice of Julie Kiss gives a more gothic, atmospheric tone and blends nicely with all these styles and at no point it sounds distant from the musical style. I do not feel there is a need to expand to particular tracks as there is an unexpected cohesion between the tracks (although not necessarily within them!) and no real weaknesses. If I had to pick highlights these would be the opening track and Inside the Hourglass, with its magnificent and compelling twin-guitar main theme.

Definitely one of the most interesting prog-metal albums of the last few years, Delusions is a "must" for the demanding fan and is probably worth more than the 4 stars I assign...

Report this review (#403495)
Posted Saturday, February 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
4 stars 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.

Report this review (#428149)
Posted Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars To-Mera is a rare example of female-fronted prog metal - not the familiar symphonic/gothic type, but of the Dream Theater-esque eclectic variety. Although it must be said that Julie Kiss's pleasant voice, except for the lighter jazzy sections which seems to be her forte, most of the time sounds out of place with music. Members of this project have background in both extreme metal and Gentle Giant-loving prog metal (sister British band Haken), so you can expect some subterranean riffs and bouts of complexity for complexity's sake. The long songs are full of sudden shifts in melody, running from the full gamut of metal stuff to jazzy breathers. So this is pretty complex, at times even weird, stuff, not your standard European prog metal-lite (intro-verse-chorus-bunch of solos-breather-big finish) approach, but, in line with the forebearers of the genre, Dream Theater, they, thankfully, don't let their creativity overrun the listenability.

Report this review (#1421422)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2015 | Review Permalink

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