Review: Teramaze – 'Her Halo'

Teramaze are an Australian four-piece, hailing from Melbourne, who play their own variant of the increasingly difficult to define prog metal. Australian prog metal is a rare beast, with the closest example being Karnivool in the late ’90s. This fifth release by Teramaze, ‘Her Halo’, is as complex and intricate as anything I have heard in recent times, and certainly not the normal fare I see in the local market. The fact that this album has come out of Australia is very special. The real deal is that this is a solid outing, and is testament to the belief of the band in what is a niche, almost non-existent, parochial market.

The opening track ‘An Ordinary Dream’ kicks off with the wind whistling through the speakers, and I’m poised to write it off as nothing more than a Dream Theatre ‘As I Am’ clone. but we are launched into double kick heaven, with tempo and texture changes as variable as the Melbourne weather. This is the longest song on the album, at just under 13 minutes, and it is a confident opening. The band is tight, and those hoping that prog has not moved much since Fish recited ‘The Script’ may have to look elsewhere. This is unyielding and unrelenting, with crushing guitar. So we blast into the second track, and it’s on again. ‘To Love A Tyrant’ is a very slick, well produced song; it flows, and is easily the most commercial of the entire album. It’s a complete song with everything balanced. This is the point where you need to get the wallet out because this band can tour this album, open with this song and you would have a grin from ear to ear. The title track ‘Her Halo’ is more like the late ’80s/early 90s prog rock that we’ve come to expect. Slow opening, it builds, spoken word overdub, and it’s all a bit samey, but then it rises a couple of notches, and we are back to the drive, with soaring guitar by Dean Wells, which is just right for the song. Mr Wells can play, no doubt about that, and compared to the last outing in 2014, ‘Esoteric Symbolism’, he has taken his playing to a whole new level. The fact that he believes in what he is doing comes across in every note. It’s measured and controlled.

“Out Of Subconscious’ is pure Dream Theater, but no homage here. It’s an influence, but fierce and delivered straight up. Maybe this is Australian prog rock. At just over 5 minutes, there is no mucking about and it’s uncomplicated. It’s also very, very good, and great to see that it will be the first release from this album. ‘For The Innocent’ is next up, and that could be Ty Tabor playing. Another decent track, and not only am I going to the prospective gig, but I’m also buying the merch! There are clearly no limits, and this is not stereotypical prog metal. It’s precise and intricate but it is driven and meaningful – I could be onto something here with no nonsense Oz prog rock.

‘Trapeze’ is very similar to the two previous tracks. The production on this one takes us to Fates Warning territory, and I’m thinking back to their classic ‘Life In Still Water’ from their 1991 ‘Parallels’ release. Again it’s an influence and no clone. Here we have Dean Kennedy on drums chasing the sublime lead guitar through the track ‘Broken’, the penultimate track, is for me the only low point on this entire recording. I can hear this playing on some Middle-American radio station quite comfortably, but after the onslaught that we have just enjoyed, I’m looking to power on. It’s an accomplished song, and hits all the points it needs to, but I can only assume that it’s on there to show the bands depth. For me, and I might be in the minority, it didn’t deliver the kicks and changes that we had been treated to on every other song. Yes, I want it all!

So hopefully we finish on a high… and Teramaze deliver with ‘Delusions Of Grandeur’ which bookends the opening track at a healthy 10 minutes. Again, we are treated to a blinding track, and I’m thrown to the front row watching Petrucci thrash out ‘Glasgow Kiss’. This is a great way to finish what has been a very impressive performance by Teramaze. I do not hesitate to recommend this for a listen, it’s worth your time and, more importantly for music, it’s worth your dollar. When this band tours, I’ll be there, because Teramaze deserve to be heard. I could see this band do very well in the European or North American market and become a huge attraction, because it’s a tough market for a band of this complexity in Australia. Can’t recommend this enough. Do yourself a favour and get Teramaze and ‘Her halo’ onto your deck.

Dean Wells – Guitars / Backing Vocals Nathan Peachey – Vocals Dean Kennedy – Drums Luis Eguren – Bass Guitar

Review – Craig Grant

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