Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism (Nightmare, 2014)

Like many people I missed the earlier works of Teramaze, even though I was familiar with the name, so my first proper encounter with the band was their previous release "Anhedonia", an album that left quite a positive impression. As a result, I was really looking forward to their latest effort "Esoteric Symbolism" and, while I expected great things, I wasn't prepared for just how good they have become.

"Esoteric Symbolism" is clearly not as heavy as its predecessor, though there are still plenty of metallic riffs on offer, yet this is offset by a more expansive sound that sees Teramaze exploring a lot of new ground. In fact, "Esoteric Symbolism" almost sounds like a completely new group, in the best possible sense, as their music has evolved into something far more progressive and melodic than "Anhedonia" could ever have suggested.

This is one of those rare cases where a major change actually works in the bands favor and Teramaze utilise just short of eighty minutes of music to convey just how far they have come. Whatever changes might have taken place there is no shortage of memorable moments and it is this finely honed balance between the heavy, the progressive and the melodic that gives "Esoteric Symbolism" such depth and makes the length of the album seem warranted.

If there is one thing better than discovering a new band that impresses it is seeing them grow into something greater and exceeding expectations. Admittedly, I may have been a bit late in coming to the Teramaze party but it doesn't really matter when you can see such growth in such a short space of time and I get the feeling that "Esoteric Symbolism" marks a turning point that hints at even greater things to come.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Seprevation - Consumed (Independent, 2014)

My first encounter with Seprevation was through their video for "Slave To The Grave" which made a big impression and it certainly proved to be the perfect song to introduce their debut release "Consumed". Of course, it did also raise my expectations as to how good the rest of the album would be but I made the purchase in blind faith and, as it turns out, I'm staring down what will surely be one of my favourites come years end.

"Divine Devastation" is a deceptive opener as it lulls you into complacency with serene guitars before Seprevation unleash their true selves and proceed to tear you asunder with their caustic mix of thrash and death metal. Whilst speed is clearly one of their primary weapons, and one they use to great effect, there are songs where they take things down a notch and pummel you slowly though such moments are few and far between, offering little respite from the mayhem.

Everything about "Consumed" is top class and the production courtesy of Stefano Morabito, who also produced another personal favourite in Bloodshot Dawn, is powerful, clear and lets every instrument come to the fore even when the music is raging. Not that this means it is overly polished as this would actually detract from the music, the balance is just right, like everything else about "Consumed" it fits the bigger picture.

So there you go, it seems that my faith was amply rewarded as "Consumed" is just a brilliant effort, one that takes the listener by the throat and doesn't let go for its forty minute duration however much you might beg for mercy. Not that this proves to be a problem as Seprevation have provided one of the standout albums of the year so far, further proof that there is plenty of great music if you are willing to dig a little deeper and seek out bands like this that are prepared to succeed on their own terms.