To-Mera
Delusions


1.5
very poor

Review

by Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF
January 11th, 2008 | 75 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Delusions would be a far more interesting listen if To-Mera were willing to take a chance or two.

Though described everywhere, not least their own MySpace page, as “progressive metal,” it’s very difficult to see what exactly it is that earns To-Mera the “progressive” tag. Technically superb though they are, To-Mera’s songs are about as formulaic as they come. The contrast between Tom MacLean’s brutal, time-shifting guitar riffs, singer Julie Kiss’ soft, melodic vocals and Hugo Sheppard’s jazzy keyboard interludes is effective, and very well executed, but like any formula it needs something else to keep it fresh. Over sixty-minutes, Delusions gives the sensation of being beaten alternately with a baseball bat and a different kind of bat: any emotional reaction which could have been elicited is very quickly diminished by sheer repetition. And while there’s no shortage of repetitive, formulaic music around, whether on the pop charts or Roadrunner Records’ artist roster, it’s usually supplemented by something else, be it unusually strong melodies, harmonic complexity or some other sonic variation. To-Mera, on the other hand, simply aren’t as convincing, and it’s a giant shame given the superb technical ability of MacLean, Sheppard and drummer Paul Westwood.

The good news? Fans of the UK group’s 2006 debut Transcendental will already know whether they agree with the above opinion, and can adjust their browsers accordingly. Delusions is essentially a continuation of its predecessor. Westwood stepped in for original drummer Akos Pirisi shortly after the debut was released, and in the mean time the group has grown tighter and more aggressive. McLean’s once razor sharp riffing is now even more caustic; Hungarian front-woman Kiss’ high-end has improved nicely in line with the major players of the gothic metal genre; and Westwood, though not as smart a drummer as his predecessor, has at least increased the technicality factor another notch. The presence of a female vocalist will invite obvious comparisons to Nightwish and Within Temptation, but musically the group is more in line with Symphony X and, in particular, Dream Theater, while McLean’s barbarous guitar tone bears the notable imprint of Devin Townsend. There are also notable similarities to fellow multinational UK-based power metallers DragonForce, in the sense that the listener’s chances of liking the group essentially rest upon their ability to overlook the fact they only have one speed and don’t like to upset a winning formula.

Not surprisingly then, Delusions’ best moments are stacked towards the front of the album. Opener ‘The Lie’ plays synthesised horns off McLean’s guitar riff to create a Romantic, regal effect, while the improvement in Kiss’ vocals is immediately apparent, although the distortion effect does its best to mask that. Already To-Mera’s ability to use the quiet-loud dynamic to great effect is apparent, as they slip easily from grind-influenced riffing and blast beats to a sweet jazz aside that could be pulled from a Norah Jones album. Westwood’s awkward double-bass run beneath the chorus is a little disconcerting, and suggests the group may not be as tight as they should be, but overall it’s a worthy highlight for any metal album. ‘Mirage’ sees a little more experimentation with electronics, naturally of the cheesy ‘80s variety, and more of the same core-ish riffing/blast beat/jazz interlude pattern that worked so well during ‘The Lie.’ ‘The Glory of a New Day’ sees Westwood settle in to his groove somewhat, sacrificing the endless blast beats for something a little more calculated, making it one of the more nuanced tracks on the album, and also one of the best.

Inevitably, however, it’s difficult to escape the sheer monotony of listening to the same tricks pulled out time and time again. ‘Asylum’ begins with a dramatic gothic piano sequence and ‘Fallen From Grace’ with Bach-like church organ, but both revert quickly to the style of the other tracks, as if To-Mera are willing to experiment with different sounds, but only with the in-built safety net to catch them if they fall. One can only imagine that Delusions would be a far more interesting listen if To-Mera were willing to take a chance or two.



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user ratings (33)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Jorn van Schaïk (3)
Delusion more like confusion.....


Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
January 11th 2008


44805 Comments


Suprised to see you review this. Props on that but I disagree of course. Transcendental was pretty solid and so far from the myspace samples, pretty good as well. How did you review this, considering this dosen't come out for a month.

Crimson
January 11th 2008


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't really dig this band, I can't help but feel they would sound better with some growled/screamed vocals :/

TheStarclassicTreatment
January 11th 2008


2910 Comments


The bassist is a god

Confessed2005
January 11th 2008


3314 Comments


The Lie is pretty good in terms of songwriting and instrumentation but I don't find the female vocals that enticing. They seem a little out of place.

When there isn't any vocals it's really cool stuff. I'd totally dig this if it were instrumental.

jrowa001
January 11th 2008


8750 Comments


im looking forward to this and i liked their last album. even though youre review is negative im hoping it wont change my expectations. good review though

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is one of those reviews that despite the negative score, the description itself has convinced me that I will probably like this.
Although, this score does seem a little harsh... the review doesn't really seem to reflect something that's very poor. To me something that's very poor would be unlistenable, even in small doses, and this made it sound like due to repetition this album is only good in small doses (which might only warrent a 2 or 2.5, but still...)

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

Tyler
Emeritus
January 11th 2008


7926 Comments


This band is really bland.

Willie
Moderator
January 11th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They're not very original, but they're solid. Other then when I first got it, I don't think I ever listened to their first album from start to finish... but I still throw it on from time to time. This one sounds like it will just be the same deal.

BallsToTheWall
January 12th 2008


44805 Comments


Judging by Inside The Hourglass and The Lie which are solid tracks, it does feel like Transcendental part 2. I agree with the fact they should have experimented more instead of sticking to the same idea. Yet, I still really like that album, this album seems no different so I probaly will enjoy this.

Willie
Moderator
January 12th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The first album was overly long too... and I generally will listen to about 30 minutes of it at a time... so I guess that means I like them about twice as much as you... so if this album is a 3 for me then I can live with that ;)

Abaddon2005
January 12th 2008


684 Comments


It'd make a lot more sense if i didn't like this band considering it's not a style i tend to like, but I do.

Killed4less
January 12th 2008


328 Comments


They seem kind of like a Dream Theater with less variety making this uber boring.

Shattered_Future
January 12th 2008


1541 Comments


I thought we weren't supposed to review stuff until it came out?

Either way, To-Mera isn't terrible. Their songs usually fall into similar patterns, but they're good to listen to for a song or two.

Neoteric
January 12th 2008


3243 Comments


Staff are allowed to review things before they come out.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2008


17945 Comments


staff are allowed to be pirates

Jom
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2008


2712 Comments


Staff get promos sent to them in advance.

Essence
January 12th 2008


3595 Comments


Come on Jom, wouldn't you rather just say Yarrrrrrrrrrr, or Ahoy!, at every possible opportunity?

TheStarclassicTreatment
January 12th 2008


2910 Comments


How remarkably brave of you

Altmer
January 13th 2008


5652 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'm fully confident sosm is just a prick

La Revolucion
January 13th 2008


1060 Comments


[quote=review]Over sixty-minutes, Delusions gives the sensation of being beaten alternately with a baseball bat and a different kind of bat[/quote]
This is funny.



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