Well…. I had been working on this review for the past week but the band released a video for the 25 minute epic now. And with two other videos already released, that leaves one 5 minute song. Should I even do this review at this point? Lol. Eh… whatever.
My history with Teramaze goes back a long time. I remember purchasing their Tears to Dust album back in the 90s and being blown away by their progressive metal chops. At the time, I was heavily into Christian metal, and that album hit the right spot in that area too (though these later albums are much less in that arena anymore). Over the years, I would listen to this album from time to time and lament we never got anymore from them. I fell out of tracking music somewhere in the late 90’s to mid 00’s, with the exception of Dream Theater and Spock’s Beard… or pretty much anything on the Magna Carta label. But I digress.
Then one year I discovered they had a new album coming out. I got excited. And then discovered they already HAD TWO new albums out that had totally flew under my radar. I found they were exploring different styles around prog metal, but they seem to be sticking more to their strengths with their last few albums. Focusing on melody and harmony, but still displaying their technical prowess but not at the expense of the song.
The band on this one consists of helmer Dean Wells (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Andrew Cameron (bass), Chris Zoupa (guitars, keys), and Nick Ross (drums). Guest vocals on the title epic are Nathan Peachy (returning from Her Halo), Silvio Massaro (from Vanishing Point), and Jennifer Borg (from Divine Ascension).
This album is a sequel to Her Halo and as such themes recur as would be expected. But one thing to note is this is the shortest Teramaze album yet. Clocking in at just under 41 minutes. I saw where someone one called this an EP. In today’s prog metal scene, I can see that from one perspective. But make no mistake, this is an album. (Would we call Close to the Edge an EP? No. We would not.) A Change of Seasons not withstanding.
The title track starts us off epically drenched in keys and piano but quickly throws us into the signature heavy power ballad sound with a hint at the progressive chops to come. Clocking in at just shy of 26 minutes, this one covers a lot of ground and styles. The first part is in the aforementioned power ballad territory with great melodies and harmonies, harkening back to the melodies from Her Halo.
As any big epic, we hit the next of many movements in this one, marked here by the piano and spoken word before throwing us into one of the heavier parts of the album. The Guitar riffs here are very satisfying. And then we get the metal onslaught with the growls that work very effectively, if very brief, before returning to the melodic chorus of this movement.
Next we get a nicely progressive and melodic instrumental section, which again doesn’t last long before the fantastic vocals kick in once again.
And we go like that through the epic, hitting heavier and hard parts and lulls of beautiful melodies. But I will say, for an epic of this length, the instrumental sections are kept to a minimum. The vocals definitely play a large part here. But that isn’t a negative since I love the vocals.
I’ve said it before, if I can listen to an epic over and over and not get bored with it, it’s a good one. I’ll await the lyrics to get the full picture on what is occurring.
Stone gives us another power ballad and of course with fantastic harmonies and melodies. These guys couldn’t write a bad chorus if they tried now.
Take Your Shot is the one faster paced song present here from start to finish. And the pace makes sense given that it’s about getting something done when you have no time left. Also the one song that hasn’t been released before the album is out.
Between the Shadows is the most ballady of the power ballads on this album. And as such, it feels a little odd as a closer to me. Especially on one with so few tracks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great tune. But it just feels like it would be a better fit set between a couple of barn burners.
And there you have it. Feels like it’s over too soon. But that’s good, right? Means I enjoyed it… and you may too. Give it a go! It’s mostly already up on YouTube anyway. Lol!
1. Sorella Minore
3. Take Your Shot
4. Between These Shadows
Release Date: May 11, 2021