Power of Metal.dk Review

Esoteric Symbolism
Style: Progressive Metal
Release date: 15 April, 2014
Playing time: 76:00

On first glance, there is so much to love about this new release from Teramaze. These Aussies have an energy and a passion that is often lost in much of the metal music nowadays. With a beautiful cover and the promise of some lively music, "Esoteric Symbolism" was almost guaranteed to be a winner. Heck, the lyrical content is straight up my alley as it seems to deal with the hidden societies that truly run our world, and the slavery that results from their existence. With all of this, however, I can't help but feel a little apathetic about this release.

Don't get me wrong, this album is very good. The band, if you are not familiar, plays a fast-paced, surging style of modern-sounding progressive metal. It doesn't really subscribe to the standard fare of other prog metal releases, as it seems more seated in metalcore or tech metal than in the normal Dream Theater stuff. Their sound includes dark, surging rhythm guitars, soaring lead guitars, speed drumming, buried-in-the-mix bass, and some piercing, spacey keys. And, of course, all of this is performed with the utmost technicality and skill. In other words, your brain will fry if you play this album loudly enough.

Interestingly, the vocalist is not your standard type. This guy, Brett Rerekura, has a higher-pitched voice that alternately reminds me of Ben from Breaking Benjamin (especially on "Punishment by Design" and "The Divulgence Act") and Michael from the band Red. Indeed, I hear both of these bands throughout the music, although they probably have no bearing on the music whatsoever.  It just shows the alternative influence that is present, I believe.

This overall recipe should make for an amazing album, but I just can't fully embrace "Esoteric Symbolism". Admittedly, I LOVE the second track, "Line of Symmetry", as I find it to be more mature and to have an interesting personality. But, this album just loses steam. "Spawn" and "Transhumanist" are both good songs, and there are others, but your guess is as good as mine when trying to distinguish between them. Yes, every song sounds almost the same here. Thundering, massive, and slick, but never having any warmth or restraint. The music charges forward at break neck speeds, but never stops to let us appreciate anything. Sure, the music is enjoyable, at least from a technical standpoint, but this fades after the first couple listens. Eventually, I'm afraid listeners will just forget this album. It has no stand-out features, no personality, and I'm afraid to say that even the technical rhythms are all forgettable. Indeed, this entire album just feels uninspired, even with the meaty lyrical concept, the band never even approaches an emotional palette or a respectable use of the concept. A few songs out, and you really can't wait for the end.

So, what can I say? It's good. That's about it. It's fast and mind-blowing. But is that really all we want for our music? This music lacks personality and humanity, and instead feels like a machine, cold and unfeeling. It may satisfy for a few listens, but will end up in back of a CD book somewhere. Sure, there are some decent choruses and a few epic moments, but nothing that will bring me back again. If you are the sort that likes metal music for complexity, then this may be your thing. If you want any sense of art or profundity, look elsewhere.

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
Label: Nightmare Records
Distribution: Power Prog
Artwork rating: 90/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 14 April, 2014
Website: www.teramaze.com.au