IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR PROG ON THE METAL SIDE, LOOK AWAY NOW.
An endless list: Muse, Queen, Joe Satriani, Pallas, Evergrey, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Anathema, Threshold, and on and on……… I think I have found a new sub-genre, Alloy Prog, as this band combine so many different styles of prog metal and meld it into a melodic whole and it works, it really works, with the emotionally driven lyrics, co-written by Wells and Peachey.
Welcome to ‘Her Halo’, a concept of emotions, recounting the tale of a female trapeze artist embroiled in a love triangle and the fifth album from Australian band Teramaze. I have to say they had not crossed my radar until I heard the title track from this album and what a little belter it is.
I suppose I had best introduce the lads: Dean Wells (prodigious lead/rythm guitar), Dean Kennedy (thundering drums), Luis Eguren (throbbing bass) and Nathan Peachey (soaring vocals).
And so to the album:
Track 1: An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento) – which I believe translates literally as ‘In the time’.
Ushered in on ethereal winds, with the distant sounds of a carnival, bringing a gentle acoustic guitar and piano intro, leaving us defenceless and unprepared as we are suddenly pinned back in our seats by a barrage of Dean Kennedy’s drum beats peppered with intense guitar fire from Dean Wells and Luis Eguren’s bass battering. It all relents slightly to introduce the melodic vocals of Nathan Peachy before returning to the fray, swooping in and out, this is the longest and most epic of tracks on the album, centred with a heart wrenching guitar solo, licks and hooks abound, leaving you in no doubt what’s to come on the rest of the album. The track ends with a gentle piano run.
Track 2: To Love a Tyrant – Eerie noises and ominous approaching footsteps and it’s into the heavy riffs. This has a sense of foreboding coupled with fear and is more ‘metal’ broken by a short piano interlude. It then returns to the churning guitars and drums, giving you the impression something wicked this way comes, Peachey using his clear, vocal range to a crescendo and good effect. The song ends with an unfinished chord on the piano hanging in the air.
Track 3: Her Halo – Everybody punch the air, here comes the title track. A pleasant string arrangement intro and a gentle verse from Peachy and you can feel the catchy chorus building. You are there by the ringside, as she floats through the air above you, arms raised and bursting your lungs to sing along. Slight editing could see this as a great single.
Track 4: Out of Subconscious – There is no escaping the fact I keep being reminded of Threshold, the drumming and guitar are straight in on this and pick up the pace from the title track. Another catchy chorus and great harmonising before we are allowed a brief respite before being lined up against the wall and shot to pieces by the drums and guitar work again. Peachey’s vocals fly off the scale and we are left to slide to the floor as the frantic guitar riff slides down to the end of the track.
Track 5: For the Innocent – Continuing apace with a great riff/hook, this starts with intent, easing to allow the verses some space, then pounding along again. Dean Kennedy‘s driving rhythms are nothing short of excellent on this album, of which Mr Johanne James himself would be proud, combined with the dynamic bass from Eguren frantically working away as part of the driving powerhouse that pushes the tunes along. This hammers to a sudden end, daring you to catch your breath before the only instrumental on the album begins.
Track 6: Trapeze – The shortest track but it allows the instruments to do the talking and loses nothing for it, Wells shredding with the best of ’em. The sound of something straining and snapping and a fateful scream precede this cinematic, bouncing tune of technical grandeur, showing the fine musicianship of the band members at their best.
Track 7: Broken – The ballad, on which the band come closest to AOR. Guitar work reminiscent of Neal Schon weaves throughout this, the plaintive lyrics from Peachey, once again with seamless harmonies, rising to an uplifting finish. Wells is allowed to shine with fabulous runs at both ends of the fret-board.
Track 8: Delusions of Grandeur – Drum roll to the grand finale and no less than you would expect from such accomplished musicians as they throw everything into this glorious end, including background circus noises. Melodic and compelling it builds breathlessly, bringing everything to a climatic and dramatic close, befitting it’s theme, with the sounds of fire and the sirens of emergency vehicles fading into the distance to nothingness.
The quiet is palpable at this stage and I scan the room to check nothing is burning/melting and there is still glass in the windows. All intact, there are no bullet holes in my clothing, furniture is intact and I have a rather large grin on my face. Thank goodness, time to grab a cup of tea and get some more jobs done. Then again, I could just have another listen, close the room door, who will know.
Released 30th October 2015