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“Transcendental” by To-Mera

Artist: To-Mera
Title: “Transcendental”
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 10/17/2006
Genre: Progressive Gothic Metal
Rating: 4/5

The band To-Mera is an incredible find based on their unique blend of both Progressive Metal nd Gothic Metal styles. After your first run of the CD you will sit back and say that this was one of the best bands you have heard all year and it would be justifiable. The group is fronted by the beautiful Julie Kiss (ex Without Face) who along with Lee Barrett, Tom MacLean, and Hugo Sheppard form this mixed English/Hungarian sensation. To-Mera takes a collection of elements that are most often found in bands such as Opeth, Yes and Nightwish and after mixing it up a little bit will deliver you a result that is a truly magical musical discovery. Kiss is a powerful, but yet haunting lead singer whose voice will at times remind the listener of Simone Simons (Epica) and perhaps even just a bit of Annie Haslam (who fronted the Art-Progressive Rock band Renaissance). Vocally she glides over the intricate webs created by the band with ease and make songs like “Phantoms” and “Born Of Ashes” absolutely incredible and repeat listens. There is a level of technical proficiency that the band demonstrates that is not often associated to the Gothic sound and this display of prowess in songs such as “Dreaded Angel” and “Parfum” could very well change the way that this genre is accepted and perhaps even the way this music gets created by other bands in the future. I have to say that this is surely a refreshing change from the often too-brooding and melancholy displays into sorrow that standard Gothic has best become known for. The Progressive angle is wisely used and makes the Goth turn upward a notch. There is a chance that this release will even find favor in the hearts of the often stoic Prog-head. There are jazz flirtations in some parts and casual piano that leads into blistering polyrhythmic drumming patterns when all the while the guitars are shredding and Julie is doing her thing. They are a group that can play their instruments and on every song they reinforce this talent in the ears of the listener showing you just what they can do. It seems quite clear that a bright future awaits the band and in a scene where there are a lot of female fronted groups – To-Mera shows that they stand in a category of their own instead of being a “cookie-cutter” version of another popular act. Julie Kiss stands ready to become a force of influence for those females who are drawn to this type of music and seek their own greatness and inspirations. She has an Operatic style that is probably going to draw some Tarja Turunen comparisons as well, but I think she merits her own kudos.
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