Teramaze – And the Beauty They Perceive (Wells Music)Friday, 22nd October 2021
When lockdown measures stop any live shows from taking place during a pandemic, what’s a musician to do? Well, in the case of guitarist/vocalist Dean Wells, you bury yourself in your ideas, and churn out a massive amount of material. So much so that the latest Teramaze album And the Beauty They Perceive is the Australian progressive metal outfit’s third album in the past year – previous efforts I Wonder and Sorella Minore coming out in October 2020 and May 2021 respectively. Prepare to embrace a wide array of influences from metal, AOR, rock, and beyond that allow these nine tracks to enthrall, mesmerize, and cause deep appreciation for all the minor twists and nuances beyond the stellar musicianship and songwriting on display.
Right away the soaring, confident voice of Dean as well as the layers of guitars he and fellow axeman Chris Zoupa unfurl throughout the mid-tempo title cut should put ears on alert – the subsequent political narrative sequence in between solos two-thirds of the way through along with some softer keyboard/AOR-ish angles remind this scribe of everything from Evergrey to Threshold at their finest moments. Other songs take on a bit more modern finesse to contrast smoother melodies. “Jackie Seth” shimmering with an extremely potent chorus, the keyboards taking on a cascading texture as the main chord sequences are driving in a stunted manner against a simple 4/4 tempo, while “Waves” has the feel of a power ballad put through a Joe Satriani context, Dean reaching impeccable high notes vocally near the conclusion. Teramaze as a unit may not necessarily dazzle you in terms of intricacy or technicality – but when they choose to broaden aural perspective in an epic format, you get moving arrangements like the ten-minute plus “Modern Living Space” or eleven-minute closer “Head of the King” that incorporate nifty progressive riffs/time signature manipulation, fluid/shred-like lead sequences, bursts of speed, and more narrative accents to keep brains (and ears) pinned for what will take place next. The engineering/production skills in house from Dean also put the band in that upper tier for their genre – rivaling their contemporaries because of proper tones, mixing the sounds in a clear way for clarity and processing without ear fatigue.
Most would put Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Symphony X in that first chair when it comes to premiere progressive metal. Teramaze deserves consideration for the next level almost aligning with these bands – as the songwriting and performances for And the Beauty They Perceive deserve accolades, numerous playbacks, and contain everything this scribe desires to hear in a melodic, progressive metal album.