TERAMAZE – Esoteric Symbolism (2014)
Now signed by Nightmare Records, the Australian progressive metal combo TERAMAZE are releasing today their fourth album “Esoteric Symbolism” one that fans of the style would do well to take notice of.
Teramaze tries something different for the genre here, exploring sounds from all regions of the Prog spectrum overlain with a truly unique vocal delivery.
“Esoteric Symbolism” is a tightly written, composed and executed album with a dark atmosphere you don’t often hear in this style. But I should correct the term: not dark, ‘melancholic’ is the word here.
It’s pretty damned uncommon to hear prog metal sound this melancholic. There’s also noted similarities in the groove and vocal dynamism with the awesome TesseracT.
Although Teramaze may adhere pretty comfortably to prog-power form, there’s an earnest grip of style that’s always refreshing to see, in this and any other sort of music. It’s Teramaze’s melancholy that has them stand out the most when all is said; technical guitar work and symphonic undertones are pretty common fare in prog metal, but not Teramaze’s ‘special’ feeling.
Maybe these descriptions are taking impressions of Teramaze’s melancholy too far, but it’s not every day I hear such a melodic band tote such a cynical atmosphere. It’s refreshing, to say the least, and makes for a more engaging emotional experience.
Although such a focus on melody would usually see instrumental wizardry placed on the backburner, “Esoteric Symbolism” is really impressive for the technique and complexity of its guitar work. The songs may have been written with an economy for time and structure in mind, but it doesn’t stop Teramaze from sporting some excellently vicious riffs. And they’re incredibly interesting to listen to; technical, disciplined, sharp and never indecent to the overall song skeleton.
After the short instrumental “All Seeing Eye”, opener “Line Of Symmetry” is an emotionally-moving tidal wave of carefully clipped and precise arrangements. It deviates between mystical, clean passages, and incredibly powerful and fast riffs derived from the realms of Power.
“Bodies of Betrayal” is one of my absolute favorites; the riffs go from being deceptively heavy, with carefully-threaded grooves and sudden, evocative outbursts of melody.
Brett Rerekura delivers a unique timbre of vocals that shimmer between the powerful and the soulful. He is one of a small few vocalists I am aware of that barely use vibrato, in what is typically an extremely melodic genre. Like Fate Warning’s Ray Alder, he delivers something that many other Prog bands simply do not have.
“Bodies of Betrayal” and “Dust of Martyrs” proves the stupendous instrumental skills of the band. The latter features particularly heavier and aggressive riffage, articulated and punchy over the truly heavy rhythm section. Title Track has shades of Eighties Queensryche, and it’s another personal favorite.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Teramaze seems to be capable of writing whatever the heck they wanted, and get away with it sounding excellent. The album closes with “In Vitro”, and I can exclaim with confidence that this track made the hairs on my neck stand on end. Swamped in thick-yet-melodic riffs, the timbres of the band’s skilled vocalist evoke vibes that are bursting full of raw emotion and power, whilst at the same time, providing deliciously catchy moments.
“Esoteric Symbolism” is one of the few Prog Metal albums that made some impact on me so far this year. And a truly impressive one.
Having been around since the early ’90s, Teramaze have undoubtedly developed into an incredibly proficient act from a technical perspective, but also into a different approach melodically speaking. “Esoteric Symbolism” is a really long album (78 min.) but you always find something original which keeps you hooked and listening with interest.
01 – All Seeing Eye
02 – Line of Symmetry
03 – Transhumanist
04 – Bodies of Betrayal
05 – Parallels / Dual Reality
06 – Spawn
07 – Punishment By Design
08 – Dust of Martyrs
09 – The Divulgence Act
10 – Esoteric Symbolism
11 – VI Order Out of Chaos
12 – VII Darkest Days of Symphony
13 – VIII in Vitro
Brett Rerekura – vocals
Dean Wells – guitar, backing vocals
John Zambelis – guitar
Dean Kennedy – drums
BUY IT !