It turns out that the new album, entitled "Her Halo", is a whole different experience from "Esoteric Symbolism". For instance, the band has gotten a new singer. Gone is Brett Rerekura, and in goes Nathan Peachey, a clear upgrade if you ask me since Brett had some limitations in his voice. Nathan has more range and presence, which fits really well with the overall mood of "Her Halo", which is more beautiful and fragile than what its predecessor was.
"Her Halo" does not have any of the thrash metal influences that the previous Teramaze records possesses, which I am a little sad about, since it was something that made the band stand out. However, they still managed to maintain their core sound, which is big, epic, and futuristic metal. It all sounds incredible, and the instrumentation is fantastic, as one would expect from a progressive metal band. My only issue with the album is that the songs do not have the same impact as the ones in "Esoteric Symbolism". I miss that it factor that makes the songs so unique and memorable.
With that said, there are still a couple of songs that do impress me. The opening track "An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)" is a perfect representation of what Teramaze is, a close to 13 minute giant that dazzles with its complexity and melodies. The album also ends in a terrific way with "Delusions of Grandeur", another giant piece that clocks in just under 10 minutes, displaying some of the darkest moments in "Her Halo". Speaking of dark moments, "Out of Subconscious" has that as well, giving out a sense of despair that really pops out of the speakers.
The band also tries to make a couple of ballads in this record, which does not turn out all too well. The title track does have an interesting verse and some good guitar work, but the chorus is way too boring, close to whiny. Only thing saving this weird pop and prog fusion is a pretty cool guitar solo. There is still one song in the album that is even worse, and that is "Broken", a full fledged ballad that is closer to Nickelback than Teramaze. My god, I do not see any reason to why this song should be on here, it is a boring sleeping pill that may confirm this album's different look, but it does not strengthen it.
I like the fact that the band wanted to make a new, different sounding album, and doing it in such a short amount of time, without losing too much of the quality is surely impressive. With that said, I still think "Her Halo" is inferior to "Esoteric Symbolism". It just does not have the same impact and originality. I still enjoy the album, and it is definitely one of the better releases this year, but if you want to hear some great progressive metal, I suggest "Esoteric Symbolism" over "Her Halo" (that does not mean that you cannot listen to both albums if you have the time and courage :) ).
Songs worthy of recognition: Delusions of Grandeur, An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento), Out of Subconscious
Rating: 8/10 Trapezes