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
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.
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.
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.