Teramaze - 'Esoteric Symbolism'

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Teramaze - 'Esoteric Symbolism'

Overall, I commend this album to you

This album found its way to me on the recommendation of friend and colleague Ian Johnson who had enough on his reviews list already, which turned out well for me because this album is rather good.

Few bands entering the Prog Metal scene offer anything different or get my juices flowing, there's a tendency towards the generic, however Teramaze have that certain something that elevates them above the average. Don't ask me why, I can't put my finger on any particular reasons, although I suspect creating and arranging great tunes is at the heart of it.

My heart sank when I read their biography as Pantera, Devin Townsend and Sebastian Bach all get a mention which would normally have me running for the hills, however there follows a pertinent phrase "...the band's sense of rhythm and feel is evident within their technical, yet tasteful music". The excesses of the artists mentioned don't pervade their own sound, fortunately. They have the innate ability to restrain themselves just when one thinks they are about to tip over into grunting, growling territory and save the moment. A good example is 'Bodies Of Betrayal', a fine song that goes through heavy and quieter phases, where an answering voice borders on growling. In the midst of a stunning chorus it works.

This is the Australian band's fourth album after 'Doxology', 'Tears To Dust' and 'Anhedonia' and shows them to be highly accomplished performers and importantly writers/arrangers. In Brett Rerekura they have a vocalist with range and versatility who can handle both ends of the spectrum thus giving Teramaze a greater variety, palette and depth of sound to work with; it's therefore neither unremittingly heavy nor derivative. Apparently this wasn't the case with their earlier Thrash based material. Only 'Punishment By Design' stretches my sensibilities.

The instrumental 'All Seeing Eye' creates an instant impression with its epic, sci-fi, filmic quality; chanting gives way to a monumental riff and onwards into a well constructed piece which never loses focus. Reference points? I jotted down Balance of Power, Dream Theater, Queensryche, Redemption and Vanden Plas, all within the span of this track. At times there's a heavier element than any of those bands but it never crosses into unpleasantness.

'Line Of Symmetry' has a wonderful vocal arrangement which conveys both heaviness and restraint which are carried off with equal panache, there's more great riffing too, a constant feature across the entire album. There's not a hint of a filler because all thirteen tracks are terrific with every one of them having strong hooks and choruses. The majority are between six and seven minutes in length but often feel shorter.

Overall, I commend this album to you.

Gary Marshall

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