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To-Mera at the Asylum 2, Birmingham (18/7/2010)

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sleeper View Drop Down
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    Posted: July 20 2010 at 10:09
Anyone that has seen PA's top 10 of 2010 list will have noticed the high placing of Hakens debut album Aquarius, but sunday night was definitely all about keyboardist Richard Henshall and bass player Tom MacLeans other band, To-Mera. This was the final date on a very short UK tour of which the band was headlining, but The Asylum 2 is an unusual place to hold such a gig since the venues declared maximum capacity of 100 people is wildely optomistic since more than 40 would be a crush in this broom closet of a venue, though it certainly bostes an exellent PA system. In toe were local goth metal band Winter Storm and Malties doom metalers Weeping Silence.
 
Due to the vageries of public transport (I hate public transport)and having to work sundays, we (me and a mate) were late to the venue and so Winter Storm were already half way through their set when we got there. This bands a fairly typical symphonic/goth metal band of the variety which tends to clutter the metal market these days (bands like Nightwish, Leaves' Eyes, Lacuna Coil, Delain etc) but lead singer/guitarist Hannah Fieldhouse proved to be a very capable front woman and the band themselves made for a solid, if unspectacular, opening.
 
Weeping Silence are a more established band and so were given a pretty long set, about 50 minutes for our enjoyment. Stylistacly they're probably best described as a My Dying Bride clone utilising the long song format with slow tempos that switch to mid-to-high-speed and back again through their songs whilst having a male growler balanced out with a female vocalist (female fronted bands certainly seemed to be the theme of the night). The music was very solid, though never quite reaching the hights of their main influence MDB, and vocalist Joseph certainly did his best to interact with the crowd but to be honest with being on my feet all day and the sweltering heat (I was definitely regretting bringing my hoodie with me, despite the less than summery weather outside) the set was probably a bit too long.
 
Now as I've mentioned, the venue was pretty damned tiny but it makes up for this with an excellent sound system with vocals, bass, guitars and keyboards all being well balanced in the mix and audeble, though as you'd expect with such a small setting the drums, particularly the cymbals, could be a little overpowering. Considering that the usual bands to appear on stage here would be local ameteure acts its quite impressive that it sounds better than several larger venues I can think of.
 
And so onto the main act. To-Mera are one of my favourite bands of recent years due to their willingness to take the usuall musical themes of your standard Dream Theater clone, minuss any hints of cheesiness, and mix it up with a whole lot of jazz creating something that sounds like the best bits of DT and Cynic mixed together with the indavidual personalities of the band. The result is probably one of the most unique and fresh sounding bands in the entire, and rather stale, Progressive Metal sub genre we have on PA. And it transferes to the live setting extremely well as from the opening bars of opener Arcane Solace to the closing riff of Blood, this was probably the best set I've seen since Pain of Salvation in October 2007. The whole band palyed with total precision on what is some tecnically very demanding music whilst Julie Kiss's unique voice came across beutifully (the only previous time I'd seen To-Mera, the sound on vocals was so bad it made it seem like she was singing off key). The band were visibly enjoying themselves as much as the crowd, and even the Weeping Silence guys came up to the front of stage to headbang with the rest of us (and lend Tom a pick when he'd lost his own). All songs were performed brilliantly so its hard to point out any high points of their set, though since Earthbound and Inside the Hourglass are probably my two favourite songs from the band I was very happy to hear them performed and the only real disappointment was the slightly short set, maybe they could have added an extra song or two. Getting to talk to Julie Kiss streight afterwords, if only to say "hi great set" was nice as well. Overall an excellent evening and I cant wait for them to come back.
 
Set list:
Arcane Solace
Earthbound
The Lie
Phantoms
Parfum
Inside the Hourglass
Blood   
Spending more than I should on Prog since 2005

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Blondino View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blondino Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2010 at 15:59
Glad you enjoyed it sir!

What about posting a review for the Earthbound EP? No-one's reviewed it here yet :(
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2010 at 10:06
Originally posted by Blondino Blondino wrote:

Glad you enjoyed it sir!

What about posting a review for the Earthbound EP? No-one's reviewed it here yet :(
I'll get round to it eventually, but I intend to review Transcendental and Delusions first.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Conor Fynes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2010 at 16:05

Wish I could see this band live!

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