I have to admit that I am often put off of venturing into reviewing a record when it has the word metal in the genre description. Although as a younger man I was brought up on many of the classics of that genre, the metal world has moved on a long way since then and sadly left me behind. If not out of my comfort zone, I’m certainly no longer best equipped to review the stuff and what’s with the fact that there’s about 357 sub-genres of metal; would I know my Teutonic Thrash Metal from my Crust Punk? And try as I might I can’t find Djent on my road map of Wales. Put the word Progressive into the mix, however, and I’m on much safer territory. Progressive normally implies a tempering of the blind aggression and “more is more” approach, progressive implies melody, structure, dynamics and inventiveness, all things I can hang my reviewer’s hat on, and Teramaze has all that in spades.
Without abandoning the power and drive bestowed by the Gods of Metal, this is an album that has room to embrace some wonderfully tangential musical moves, piano balladry, sweet vocal harmonies, guitar solos built from sounds more reminiscent of a Pendragon album (remember them?) and brooding electronica.
The bands ethic seems to be to build the song only from what is required to hit its mark, just because you can shred like Steve Vai on his 10th espresso doesn’t mean you have to throw it in all the time, they don’t let such showpieces become their hall mark, they let them become their secret weapon, just one of many in a whole arsenal of musical munitions. And if a song has the desired effect from just the most straight forward of playing, with out needing to be forged of time signatures that you would actually need an extra leg to dance to, then that is the route they are happy to take.
This is an album of majesty, nothing less, the sound track to worlds colliding, hearts breaking and empires falling but also the sound of the intangible forces, emotions and introspection, the mighty and the minutiae, the complete spectrum of life and it proves that power and elegance, impact and eloquence are not mutually exclusive concepts.