To-Mera

Delusions

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Discs as challenging, complex, and difficult to categorize as To-Mera's debut album, Transcendental, aren't going to appeal to everyone; there are bound to be people who comprehend and appreciate what is going on as well as those who don't. And To-Mera's sense of adventure is just as strong on their second album, Delusions, an uncompromising effort that Candlelight released in the United States in early 2008. There are no signs of a sophomore slump on Delusions, which isn't any less impressive than Transcendental. To-Mera's sound -- best described as a blend of gothic metal, progressive metal, and alternative metal with overtones of everything from jazz to black metal to Euro-classical -- remains appealing, and lead singer Julie Kiss is still an expressive vocalist. But here's the thing: Delusions, like Transcendental, is only rewarding if one doesn't have a short attention span. Those who demand instant gratification from music won't find it on Delusions any more than they found it on Transcendental. Delusions is not an album that listeners will be able to absorb on the first listen, and none of the songs adhere to a conventional verse/chorus/verse/chorus format. But for adventurous listeners, To-Mera's unpredictability is a big part of the fun. One minute, To-Mera is rocking forcefully and intensely; the next minute, this European band might go off on a jazzy tangent and employ Kiss in a way that recalls Gayle Moran singing with Return to Forever in the '70s. Some of the guitar playing favors the type of downtuned guitars that are quite common in '90s and 2000s alternative metal; other times, the guitars hit the high notes and have all the '70s/'80s-like gloss and shine one expects from progressive rock and progressive metal. Delusions is unlikely to win over anyone who was intimidated by Transcendental's complexity, but those who were able to comprehend and fully absorb Transcendental will find Delusions to be a respectable sophomore outing for To-Mera.

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