To Mera

Ok, why its taken me this long to review this band I really don’t know. Ive seen them live three times, have met most of the band – and not just after the shows. If there is one band I am obsessive over, this is it.

This band is something of a unique one. On one hand you have a progressive style of symphonic power, only likened to bands like nightwish in their gothic female-fronted style, but the other side is an almost thrashy, complex, bordering the neo-classical at times riff work, with a heavy prominent bass juxtaposing classically influenced keyboard arrangements.

To Mera – Transcendental – 5/5

So their debut album first reaches my ears, and it was clear to me then that this wasn’t your average band. Every instrument has their own piece, their own time to shine, none are overplayed and whilst there are better musicians out there, these are easily competent and somehow form a coherent bond which gel’s each track together like a carefully constructed tapestry.

The album opens with “Traces” showing off the vocalist’s abilities early on, as well as the Egyptian theme from which they take their name, before kicking into a melodic guitar solo over an interesting drum beat, ending on a short keyboard piece - A perfect example of the entire band showcasing their talents. This is almost a teaser track for what’s to come, and luckily it only gets better from here on in.

The vocals on this album are superb, full of emotion, clean, easily understood, plenty of variation and somehow working majestically over both the more aggressive guitar riffs, as well as the quieter periods. The guitar riffs are ever present and add a nice background for the vocals, are catchy and perfectly fitting if nothing extraordinary. The fill-ins and the solo’s, however, is where he has his time to shine, adding little touches between sections to smooth the transition and keep it sounding fresh, or replacing Julie Kiss’ on the vocals for his own brand of emotion. The same is true for the bass, keyboards and drums. They all have their time to shine even if the majority of their time is spent providing a general backing sound. This is part of what really makes them unique – they all have their specific role, but no instrument is left feeling redundant.

This is a breath of fresh air and new ideas brilliantly worked together to provide an interesting piece which can sustain multiple listens.

Highlights: Parfum, Obscure Oblivion, Dreadful Angel

To Mera – Delusions – 4/5

So their follow up album gets released two years later, and eagerly I play it the day of its release. Unfortunately, I can’t help but be disappointed.

There’s nothing especially bad about the album, it simply doesn’t feel like anything that hasn’t already been covered. It takes a slightly more aggressive thrashier direction, whilst maintaining their individuality, which may make it appeal more to some fans, but the cost of this is the keyboard segments prevalent in their debut seem to take far more of a back-seat, letting the abundance of unique riffs take their turn. It also takes a slightly more progressive turn, changing more abruptly between sections. One of the things that worked really well before was the little fill-ins done to smooth the transition. Though something of a minor complaint, it was a little touch that simply polished off an already strong track.

The album opens with “The Lie” full of almost shredded solo’s, aggressive riff work, which feels a lot less like background atmosphere now, and take on a life of their own. Also present is that oddly emotional enchanting voice, which has if anything improved since their debut.

The main problem is that no one element stands out, there isn’t as much to draw you in, and it ends up being largely interesting background music to drift in and out of – not that this is a huge problem. The music varies enough to keep you interested when you do return to it, and the emotion is once again able to sustain multiple listens. The exception to this is “Inside the hourglass” which is definitely the high-point of the album (if not the bands finest work to date). Not only does it showcase the best of each member’s ability, but has this bizarre familiarity to it from the first listen, as though you know precisely what’s coming.

This album is by no means weak, it simply doesn’t match up to the originality of their debut. They hint at experimenting in a slightly different direction whilst remaining distinct from other bands, but something simply doesn’t connect.

Highlights: Inside the Hourglass, Asylum, The Lie.

By T. Bawden