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To-Mera - "Delusions" (CD)

To-Mera - "Delusions" CD cover image

"Delusions" track listing:

1. The Lie (7:29)
2. Mirage (7:11)
3. The Glory of a New Day (8:23)
4. Inside the Hourglass (8:18)
5. A Sorrow to Kill (8:02)
6. Asylum (5:40)
7. Fallen From Grace (8:18)
8. Temptation (8:39)

Reviewed by on June 26, 2008

"Before an old school black metal style guitar riff has barely had the chance to finish, a jazzy intermission will come out of nowhere only to be taken over by gothic keyboards which in turn are also left by the wayside for a crazy saxophone attack."

“Delusions” is an apt title for To-Mera's sophomore effort. The music is broken up into fragments that dissolve away into illusion as each new fragment comes within sight, leaving the lingering impression that the sound that was just left behind for the new sound coming through may not have at all been what it seemed. To-Mera completely evades the bonds of consistency. Before an old school black metal style guitar riff has barely had the chance to finish, a jazzy intermission will come out of nowhere only to be taken over by gothic keyboards, which in turn are also left by the wayside for a crazy saxophone attack. With the exception of vocalist Julie Kiss’ singing, no one instrument is ever given preferential treatment or allowed to be the front runner for long. The chaotic changes in instruments produce plenty of musical oddities not heard anywhere else, such as the beginning of the song “Glory of a New Day” when thrashy distorted guitar seems to be the focus and suddenly a fast piano piece charges ahead of the now straggling guitars that are desperately attempting to keep up.

The first two minutes of opening song “The Lie” might give the impression that female-fronted To-Mera is some kind of Epica or Evanesence clone that decided to have a heavier guitar sound. The band’s progressive nature comes into the spotlight when a big band style slowdown comes completely out of left field that then flows into a seedy lounge singer interlude that seems like it should be part of a scene in a smoke filled bar from a black and white private eye movie. Attempting to analyze each track on “Delusions” would be an effort in futility because no single style is given enough of a chance to dominate a song before it is forgotten completely. The band has stated that one of their largest influences is the prog metal outfit Pain of Salvation. In this instance “influence” may be the wrong word to use, as To-Mera has far surpassed Pain of Salvation in sheer number of unexpected changes, odd sound structures, and ability to keep each song interesting even without a unifying premise.

The total lack of cohesiveness doesn’t diminish the power of the music in any way. The vastly divergent forms of sound cause the more wild segments to stick in the listener’s head long after the album has stopped playing. To-Mera isn’t randomly juxtaposing various instruments to try to falsely come across as progressive. They clearly know exactly where they want each song to go and how to get it there, so the sudden shifts in style very rarely seem forced or overly silly. The stationary anchor in the sea of anarchy is Julie Kiss’ vocals, which have the ability to gravitate from sweeping and operatic to a more light and pop oriented sound as the music changes.

Progressive metal has found itself a new champion in To-Mera. The barely constrained chaos of “Delusions” could have easily been a spastic exercise in quasi-metal for the limited attention span masses, but the band members' mastery of their instruments and ability to keep the music flowing easily towards a predetermined ending makes the album worthy of many repeated spins in the CD player.

Highs: Keeps long and highly chaotic songs interesting and presents plenty of odd sound structures not found anywhere else

Lows: Chaotic changes in style are occasionally too abrupt or come off as a little silly

Bottom line: Proggressive metal has found itself a new champion

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)