To-Mera - Delusions
Progressive Metal
8 songs (1:02:04)
Release year: 2008
To-Mera, Candlelight
Reviewed by Goat

I was having a conversation with my father the other day about contemporary music, trying out some different bands on him and generally seeking approval, as all of us children do at some point or other in the all too short time that we get to spend with our parents. He was downright contemptuous of most of it, complaining about modern music’s lack of progression and the fact that artists that my generation looks up to are basically remaking what was popular thirty years ago. I protested that popular music as we know it is but thirty or forty years old, and it was unreasonable to expect a complete reinvention of the wheel every couple of years.

Thinking about this and applying it to Metal, it occurred to me that much of what he said simply couldn’t be applied. Whilst there will always be bands that, say, ape early Metallica, how many were making music like The Berzerker, Strapping Young Lad, !T.O.O.H!, DarkSpace and Negură Bunget to name a few back at the formation of the genre, indeed, in music at all? Of course, the chances of his being able to appreciate Strapping’s schizophrenic racket or Negură’s otherworldly wail are slim, but the point stands: Metal’s relative youth means that the horizon is wide open, the future is unwritten, destiny not yet cast in stone.

Yet for the most part, it’s the traditional elements in Metal that people love the most. How else can you explain the vast numbers of Power Metal and Thrash Metal bands that play, essentially, very similar types of music? Not that other sub-genres are much better, or that I can truthfully say that I only listen to that which is 100% original, but there is a danger of Metal being stuck in this rut, and To-Mera is an excellent example of this. An apparently original band, gaining attention for a sound that is basically Dream Theater plus Lacuna Coil! It’s no wonder that To-Mera is having a hard time catching on and becoming popular, considering the very different sorts of people that like Dream Theater’s progressive musings and Lacuna Coil’s uplifting beauty.

Coming at last to Delusions, the second album from To-Mera, and as you’d expect having hit upon a formula that few (no?) others are attempting the band has made little stylistic change from the debut album, 2006’s Trancendental. Opening track The Lie, for example, is slightly Thrashy before shooting into ‘typical’ Dream Theater territory, the Metal riffs being more apparent as blastbeats intersect with pure Jazz. It must be said that if you like Dream Theater and don’t mind an attractive female vocalist, then there’s very little wrong with To-Mera. There’s no faulting the band’s instrumental prowess or Julie’s lovely voice, which isn’t really as similar to Cristina Scabbia’s as detractors would have you believe, although there are moments in which it does grow close. A cross between Kate Bush and Evanescence’s Amy Lee would be nearest to the mark, but if you like female vocalists you’ll love her. The music is much closer to Prog than Goth, with the highly varied and nearly constantly shifting songs being longer this time around, all but one track being over seven minutes. There’s plenty of keyboards, but applied tastefully and skilfully, and although the drums aren’t quite as technical as Transcendental, new man Paul Westfold does an excellent job.

Delusions is full of highlights, little moments that you’ll enjoy, from the percussion near the start of The Glory Of A New Day to the saxophone on Asylum to the gorgeous soloing at the end of Temptation. Whenever one of these moments came up, however, I was disappointed to keep finding myself thinking of the Dream Theater song that they reminded me of, suggesting that this would appeal more to newcomers to the Prog Metal realm rather than old hands. Interesting too, that it’s these moments that stay with you rather than entire songs, meaning that To-Mera has work to do in the songwriting area – all very well making your music technical and Jazzy, and even better to make it relatively easy to listen to, but it takes the hand of a master to create technical and Jazzy songs that are timeless, and ultimately this is where Delusions fails.

This album represents a step forward for the band, and the music they’ve created is little short of excellent, considering how many other bands, most much more derivative than To-Mera, gain acclaim for their unoriginal sounds. The heightened Jazz influences are very promising indeed, and if you liked Transcendental then you can safely get this, as there’s much to love. The chances are that I’m being a bit harsh on the band, and if you’re not burnt out on Dream Theater yet then you should definitely be checking To-Mera out. Otherwise, it’s the third album that I predict will really launch this talented band into the stratosphere, where the influences can be shuffled aside in favour of something that doesn’t feel like it’s being difficult for the sake of it. To-Mera has a masterpiece to come, and although Delusions isn’t quite there it’s a definite step closer.

Killing Songs :
The Lie, Inside The Hourglass, Asylum
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by To-Mera that we have reviewed:
To-Mera - Exile reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
To-Mera - Transcendental reviewed by Alex and quoted 68 / 100
2 readers voted
Your quote was: 85.
Change your vote

There are 8 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Sep 10, 2009 8:46 pm
View and Post comments