Formed in 2005, the U.K.’s avant garde progressive metal band To-Mera has just released their third studio album titled “Exile”. To-Mera features the alluring vocals of Julie Kiss, Paul Westwood (drums), Mark Harrington (bass), Tom MacLean (guitars) and Richard Henshall (keys). It’s also worth noting that both MacLean and Henshall are also members of another fantastic progressive metal band called Haken, and like Haken, the band performs a unique and eclectic blend of technical prog metal, fused with jazz interludes, although that’s where the similarities end.
To-Mera has a sound all their own emphasized by the beautiful serene vocals of Kiss contrasting against the sometimes harsh metallic riffs, and serene symphonic and cinematic backdrops. Make no mistake; To-Mera’s music is not commercial or “easy” to listen to music. Musically, “Exile” challenges the listener and pushes the boundaries of what progressive metal can be with complex arrangements, incredible musicianship, and serene, almost ethereal vocals.
According to lead vocalist Kiss, “Exile” is a concept album, where the protagonist is dealing with tragedy, loss and hardship, and has plunged herself into a self-imposed state of “exile” in order to protect herself from further harm. But the consequences of this are that she has thrown away much of what is meaningful in life. This is not the kind of music you can just play in the background at a party. To truly appreciate the complexity and musicianship of “Exile”, I suggest putting on a pair of headphones, a glass of wine, layback, and let the music wash over you like a crashing wave, enveloping you in the experience.
To go into each track individually would be an exercise in futility as each song has a unique quality to it. Fans of bands such as Opeth’s more melodic moments, Dream Theater, and yes, Haken, will appreciate this album immensely. Safe to say, To-Mera has created one of the best prog metal releases of 2012.
Oh by the way, the Lady herself published the last part of her interview with Tom MacLean this weekend… You can watch it here!