Teramaze – Esoteric Symbolism (Nightmare Records)

Thursday, 27th March 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Curious listener that you are, surely you’ve too wondered what kind of sound you’d get if you mashed together Nevermore and Silverchair, right?  Sure, we all have.

Before I hang myself with that statement, let me explain what I mean…the sound.  Teramaze play a proficient modern brand of progressive metal with razor chops, especially coming from the guitars and drums (which, when thinking of reasonable comparisons, Nevermore comes to mind in this regard.  I’m not throwing Jeff Loomis into the discussion per se, but high quality stuff for sure) and vocally, well, I’m reminded of fellow countryman Daniel Johns of Sliverchair fame.  Having avoided that band in their heyday, until getting handed a copy of a 2002 album, I really didn’t know that the guy is actually quite a talent.  At any rate,  almost instantly upon hearing Teramaze vocalist Brett Rerekura, Daniel Johns came to mind.  That they are both Australian is probably a coincidence, but it goes a tad deeper than strictly vocals.  While this is metal, there are elements weaved throughout of modern alternative with slick melodies that could have some real mass appeal, if, at least in the USA, real metal wasn’t mainstream anathema.

Perhaps the above thoughts can be identified with in taking a listen to the impressive “Line of Symmetry.”  After kicking things off with an instrumental, this second track feels like the first proper taste of the goods and displays great vocal work right away, with a verse section that could find a home on alt radio, and a chorus where the riffing and rhythms come out to play in metallic force.  Esoteric Symbolism is a well-put-together album and is cohesive in tone, while letting the individual songs deliver varying degrees of heaviness.

Perhaps a song or two didn’t need to make the cut (“Dust of Martyrs”), what remains is a thoroughly riveting listen and quite refreshing too, coming off as a modernized take on the progressive metal genre, vocal-wise.  Where power metal can perhaps be seen as the progenitor of the prevailing vocal deliveries, Teramaze brings the alternative.   The end result is complex, ear-catchingly melodic and bursting with great guitar work and metallic heft.

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