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Teramaze – And the Beauty They Perceive

Teramaze
And the Beauty They Perceive
by Mark Machlay at 14 September 2021, 10:00 AM

Australia has recently gone through a bit of a rough year with multiple statewide lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, even though the band was rarely able to be in the same room together, the Aussie’s premier progressive rock band TERAMAZE were able to produce three full-length albums, the third of which – “And the Beauty They Perceive” – will be released on October 5th, 2021. Formed back in 1993 and fronted by band founder and guitarist Dean Wells, he is surrounded by a recent re-shaping of excellent musicians in Andrew Cameron on bass – who recently played with Wells in the progressive/thrash metal band MESHIAAK – as well as Chris Zoupa who has released a solo guitar album under the name SEVENTH DAN COUNTERFORCE in 2014, and finally, relative newcomer Nick Ross rounds out the lineup on drums. The band has made quite a name for themselves in the progressive metal/rock community over several years, with this latest release being their ninth full-length release since their first album “Doxology” in 1995.

Though the band may have taken a break in the mid-2000s, TERAMAZE has been going strong since their 2012 album “Anhedonia” in which they became much more comfortable with a more focused song structure and shed all of their earlier thrash metal influences. This trend has continued, and the band has seemed to deliver a perfect package of structured and shorter yet still highly technical and progressive albums with 2014’s “Esoteric Symbolism”, 2015’s “Her Halo” and 2019’s “Are We Soldiers”. This recent trio of albums beginning with “I Wonder”, continuing with “Sorella Minor” and now finishing with “And the Beauty They Perceive” sees Wells as front man, taking on all lead vocal duties for the first time. The fans have embraced this shift in style after Brett Rerekura’s departure in 2019 and see Wells as a welcome face and sound for the current iteration of the band. After the “concept album rock opera” that was “Sorella Minor”, guitarist Chris Zoupa states that the band, “were absolutely drained from the undertaking of composing a 25-minute song” and the band instead switched gears with “And the Beauty They Perceive” and wrote nine killer tracks without an overall interconnected theme but still contain all the technicality, emotion, and catchiness that TERAMAZE is known for.

Coming off of the momentous and grandiose second installment of their “Her Halo” saga with their previous album “Sorella Minore” just a couple of months ago, “And the Beauty Perceive” was met with a lot of expectation. TERAMAZE have certainly been prolific as of late and after two excellently received albums, I feel like this one is a bit more paint-by-the numbers for the band. It started out great with the explosive opening title track, beginning with a groovy, twisty-turny prog riff and even had a soft, dreamy synth section that was very 80s inspired. But the production issues were already apparent with the guitar leads seemingly buried by the monstrous production. Another stand-out is the first major epic track “Modern Living Space” - the title reminding me of RUSH – featuring a crazy dual-guitar lead that generously spreads itself out over a chuggy, djenty, heavily syncopated riff and some wonderful COHEED AND CAMBRIA-like vocal harmonies. While I am on the topic, I didn’t initially liken to Wells’ voice after taking over lead vocal duties two albums ago, but he has really grown into a poignant and introspective voice among the prog scene. The fragility and versatility of his voice really shows through on the power ballad-like “Waves” in which he is able to really lean into the vibrato and emotional warmth he carries, sounding very much like a young Freddie Mercury at times. I particularly love the palm-muted arpeggios that drive “Waves” as well. But by the latter three tracks, I felt the band were playing things a bit safe and the songs got a bit repetitive. Overall, it was a very safe album for TERAMAZE but at times, still exciting.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. And the Beauty They Perceive
2. Jackie Seth
3. Untide
4. Modern Living Space
5. Blood of Fools
6. Waves
7. Son Rise
8. Search for the Unimaginable
9. Head of the King
Lineup:
Dean Wells – Vocals, Guitars & Keys
Andrew Cameron - Bass
Chris Zoupa - Guitars & Keys
Nick Ross - Drums
Record Label: Wells Music
     


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