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To-Mera Transcendental album cover
3.82 | 69 ratings | 9 reviews | 30% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Traces (3:13)
2. Blood (5:36)
3. Dreadful Angel (6:52)
4. Phantoms (7:18)
5. Born Of Ashes (7:04)
6. Parfum (6:32)
7. Obscure Oblivion (6:17)
8. Realm Of Dreams (9:44)

Total: 52:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Julie Kiss / vocals
- Thomas MacLean / guitar
- Hugo Sheppard / keyboards
- Lee Barrett / bass
- Akos Pirisi / drums, percussion

- Josh Eisenthal / violin (3)
- Brett Caldas-Lima / orchestration (5), guitar noises, production & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Eliran Kantor

CD Candlelight Records ‎- CANDLE143CD (2006, UK)

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TO-MERA Transcendental ratings distribution

(69 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(30%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

TO-MERA Transcendental reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dean
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin and Amateur Layabout
4 stars It seems churlish to criticise Transcendental, it isn't a bad album - in fact it is a very good album, and To-Mera are an impressively talented group, their playing is faultless. Sheppard's keyboards are some of the best you'll hear in progressive metal, especially when he is going all classical and jazzy on the piano (acoustic and electric).

Barrett's bass does everything required to hold everything together while Pirisi on drums provides the rhythms and tribal-influenced percussion with a lot more self-control than some Prog-Metal drummers I could mention, never reduced to just hitting everything in his kit, he switches styles and rhythms to dramatic affect (notably on the track Parfum). MacLean's guitar work is expressive, with crisp riffs that never completely drown a song and enhance the Barrett/Pirisi rhythm section perfectly, while his solos are tight and musical without being flashy. This is not a band playing apart, competing against each other, they work as a unit and when it works, it works great. This just leaves Kiss on vocals. She can sing that is without question, and in the main her vocals fit well with the music, but her pitch is a little high for my personal tastes on some tracks here (the chorus of Obscure Oblivion for one) so she often gets lost in the stratosphere while the rest of the band are cruising around in the lower atmosphere.

Yet after owning this for several months now it still doesn't sit very well on my CD player - whenever it finishes it always leaves me feeling as if I've missed something. Unfulfilled even. The problem for me is that there is far too much going on, there are just too many chops and changes, too many influences and styles all vying for attention that it becomes hard work. Admittedly, this is improving with time as I become accustom to it, but I feel it will take a few more months yet to become fully comfortable. This album is an excellent addition to a Prog Metal collection because it is in the top 20% all PM out there, but it so easily could have been in the top 10% which would have made it an essential addition, so in truth 3.5-stars from me, which I have rounded up to 4.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. TO-MERA are a female fronted (vocals) Prog-Metal band from the UK. These guys can play and I really like Julie Kiss' vocals, but something is missing for me. Funny but I read Dean's review as I sat down to write mine and he had some of the same thoughts as I did in that regard.

"Traces" is my favourite and I wish they sort of stuck to this dark, atmospheric style throughout this album. Julie sings these haunting vocal melodies to open and when she stops the electric guitar eventually comes in joined by the drums. Piano only to end it. "Blood" is a good song with some Power-Metal flourishes. "Dreadful Angel" opens heavily as vocals almost whisper in between these heavy outbursts. A calm 1 1/2 minutes in then the guitar breaks out a minute later. Check out the jazzy calm 3 1/2 minutes in. The contrasts of calm and heavy continue.

"Phantoms" is heavy with vocals until we get a 2 minute calm then it kicks in again. "Born Of Ashes" opens with reserved vocals and acoustic guitar. Then this epic sounding passage takes over only to be replaced by an uptempo and powerful soundscape. "Parfum" opens with piano then soft vocals and acoustic guitar come in. It turns dark and heavy before 2 minutes. Check out the drumming. Great section. Vocals are back. "Obscure Oblivion" kicks in around 1 1/2 minutes then settles with piano a minute later. It's heavy again after 3 minutes. Nice guitar a minute later. I like the heaviness that takes over before a minute in "Realm Of Dreams". Vocals follow.The contrasts of heavy and calm continue.

Lots to like here but I just can't get into it enough to offer up 4 stars. Time may change that.

Review by sleeper
4 stars As even the most devout fans of the more traditional Progressive Metal (i.e., not the Tech/Extreme or Experimental/Post Metal kind) will attest, by 2006 the genre was beginning to get rather stale with its endless hordes of Dream Theater clones seemingly disappearing over the horizon. But this UK band right from the start have set out to make a difference, and stand out from the tightly packed crowd primarily by fusing that standard form of Prog Metal with jazz and the more extreme side of the spectrum.

Musically this band stands out as being something of a melting pot for a whole host of different styles, and though that tends to be a rather over used statement, I'll certainly stand by it here. In the structure of the music its quite clear that Dream Theater have an influence, but the way they incorporate jazzy sections into the music and the sudden switches between smooth and heavy and jarring passages, without sounding forced in incoherent, already moves the band a step beyond. In terms of the bands playing its quite clear that guitarist Tom MacLean, more well known as Hakens bass player, takes a lot of influence from the more extreme ends of things, with echoes of Meshuggah and Cynic coming through his playing. I'd have to say, though, that as good as he is on bass, he's absolutely amazing as a guitarist and I cant help but rate him as one of the genres best.

In bands of this style its not uncommon for the keyboard players to get rather lost, only really coming out for the occasional short solo but with Hugo Sheppard, thats never a problem. He seems to spend his time alternating between playing big atmospheric chords that noticeably fill out the back ground of the music and strong synth or piano leads over the heavy riffing of MacLean and bassist Lee Barrett, sometimes even sharing lead duty with MacLean. Right from the start of the atmospheric opener Traces, its clear that Sheppard has slotted himself into the band as an integral part of its sound, and to be honest the same could be said for all of them, with one instrument missing the album wouldnt be half as good.

The rhythm section is probably the one part that I feel could be better. Akos Pirisi is a good drummer and like others have noted, he displays a a much greater level of self control than other many other drummers in this genre and that might be part of his problem, he probably shows just a bit too much self control and doesnt let loose as much a he probably could. Still, he does a good job and works well with the bands bassist. Barrett is probably best described as a competent bassist but a little unimaginitive, who's mostly working to support the lead pair of MacLean and Sheppard rather than joining in and using the bass as an instrument that that can stradle the roles of rhythm and lead. There are, of course, exceptions to this, most notably the jazzier parts of Dreadful Angel and Born of Ashes (its also notable that these two are the first songs the band wrote, so maybe he adapted the more supportive style later).And then there's the vocals. Its fair to say that Julie Kiss is a bit of love-or-hate singer. She has a very rich quality to her singing, which she seems to naturally give more power to than many other female singers. Personally, I really love the sound of her voice.

Its not all brilliant though. The production of this album has one glaring problem that annoys me every time and thats the sibilance on Kiss's vocals (for those that dont know, sibilance is a hissing sound found primarily at the end of S and cymbal sounds). Its there on every song and quite badly pronounced, I can only assume the engineer, Bret Caldas-Lima fell asleep after he pressed record to have missed it so badly. Kiss's talent at writing lyrics was also still developing as well since there are a few lines that come across as being, well, a bit clunky, particularly on the second track, Blood. Then there's the final track, Realm of Dreams. I get the feeling that Sheppard intended for this epic to ebb and build over the length of the track until it reaches a climax, yet it never seems to get anywhere and finally fades out into static, which I really dont like. My final gripe is with the bass, which has a really dirty sound to it. Normally, I wouldnt mind this, in fact I'd probably love it, but it tends to get lost in the mix a bit and serves more to mask the technical ability of Lee Barret.

Transcendental proves to be a good debut album and even now, having had the album for several years, the songs Dreadful Angel, Phantoms, Born of Ashes, Parfum and Obscure Oblivion are still amongst my favourites. More importantly it proves to be a very unique starting point for To-Mera, one that pointed to a very strong future. The faults I've pointed out with this album can be annoying but the underlying strengths of the bands compositions and the proficiancy with which they pull them off leaves me coming back time and again.

Latest members reviews

4 stars To-Mera's "Transcendental" is, in a word, sublime. From the first instant with Julie Kiss' rich voice through the refreshingly un-dissapointing ending, each song is artfully composed and skillfully performed. Falling on the dark side of the mood scale, with a strong dose of emotional power, thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1364846) | Posted by Star_Song_Age_Less | Sunday, February 8, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I don't think I have ever heard a metal band use dynamics to the extent that this band does on this album. At times they are very heavy metal, at others they are light classical or jazz. If prog metal is "characterised by genre transgression" then Transcendental has that in spades. The To-Mera ... (read more)

Report this review (#549798) | Posted by bassgeezer | Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Fantastic debut album of one of the most interesting and challenging new Brit bands in today's music!It's something like a fresh breath to listen this kind of music,made with so much passion and belief!First of all the eteheric femele vocals can be discouraging or intriguing for some prog metal f ... (read more)

Report this review (#291151) | Posted by Ovidiu | Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm surprised with these British guys. There's as much music as innovation and fresh ideas on it, their music can recreate a present full of doubts and uncertainty, everything in a band that blends metal, jazz, gothic and a little bit from other things with total authority and authenticity for h ... (read more)

Report this review (#217418) | Posted by Epsilon | Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To-Mera is a young band coming from United Kingdom that plays a very technical and avant-garde form of progressive metal with enchanting female vocals. Their influences go from jazz to death/black metal (no harsh vocals at all, though) with some symphonic elements here and there. This album has ... (read more)

Report this review (#170304) | Posted by Thonolan | Friday, May 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I discovered To-mera in 2005 when they still only had their two-song demo out. "Born of Ashes" and "Dreadful Angel" were the two songs contained on this demo and obviously I was impressed, after all they displayed so well the musicianship within the band, the creativity, the perfectionism. Other p ... (read more)

Report this review (#132601) | Posted by Salviaal | Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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