To-Mera – Earthbound – 3.5/5
I suppose it should be pertinent to open with pointing out I’m a fan of To-Mera, and have been for quite some time. Excited to receive my copy of the EP, eagerly I put it on and listened, and it was a disappointment. The musicians were still there but something felt missing, it wasn’t quite there, and now that it’s assimilated into the system better I realized their sound had changed, but I’m not yet sure as to whether its for better or worse. It’s still To-Mera; the elements that made them unique to begin with haven’t departed, but they’ve certainly changed.
My biggest gripe would be the lack of that hard-edged ‘thrashy’ element, like that opening riff for 'blood,' it all seems to have vanished, and in return we are treated to an altogether more melodic variation. This is largely down to the lead guitars which have sported a far more ‘twangy’ and jazzy tone, allowing the bass to carry the track whilst he plays around this main line, contributing his distinctly fusion style solos; a fact that whilst I miss one, still enjoy the other, and ultimately wish he had delivered upon more. The vocalist has also chosen to stretch beyond the normal tone to suit this alteration on their old style, which whilst not always panning out, more often than not proves exceptional, demonstrating her improving versatility, which is only a matter to be applauded.
Both the Keyboardist and the drummer maintain their high degree of expertise, but in this new ‘melodic’ setting, feel as though they aren’t given their share of the spotlight. The drums are often in the back playing simplistic beats when it could be doing so much more, and the basic chords offered by the keyboards whilst acceptable in some bands in creating a mood, are only really given a jazzy solo in ‘Earthbound’ to show off, displaying an almost complete absence of that occasional ‘classical’ inspiration. The bassist is perhaps the only member to have really outdone himself here, the latest addition to the line-up with a lot to prove, and by combining his thick toned riffs with an odd ‘simple technicality’ – technical riffs that somehow are made to be simplistic and catchy - he does so with flying colours.
Everything ultimately feels simpler than before, with a far more prominent jazz feel coming to forefront, just slightly overshadowing some of the other elements, and whilst this new evolution of their sound is not large enough to mistake them for another band, certain elements that worked well before simply feel missed. This EP managed to grow on me once I became accustomed to this change, and it’s certainly not necessarily a bad thing, provided they remember their origins. With baited breath I await what the next instalment will bring to the table.
Highlight: Arcane Solace