When an album is difficult to categorize, that is usually a positive thing; it means that the artist in question is striving for originality. Transcendental, the debut album by the part-British, part-Hungarian band To Mera, is such an album. This 2006 recording is metal, but To Mera do not pledge their allegiance to one type of metal exclusively. Instead, this complex, highly ambitious effort is probably best described as a blend of gothic metal, progressive metal and alternative metal. To Mera have some Dream Theater in their sound, but the haunting, goth-drenched lead vocals of Julie Kiss (formerly of Without Face) don't sound like anything one would hear on a Dream Theater album -- and while Transcendental is full of darkly ethereal melodies, the heavy, bonecrushing parts of this 52-minute CD are much more brutal than any of Dream Theater's riffs. Calling Transcendental a blend of gothic metal, prog metal and alt metal is not to say that those are To Mera's only influences; in terms of those, this band is all over the place. To Mera don't favor a simple verse/chorus/verse/chorus approach; their material is full of intriguing twists and turns, and they are likely to incorporate elements of styles ranging from black metal (minus the rasp vocals) to jazz (both post-bop and fusion) to Euro-classical to East European folk. When Transcendental is finished playing, one gets the impression that To Mera's members are eclectic enough to appreciate everyone from Tori Amos to Dark Funeral to Yes to Johann Sebastian Bach to Chick Corea's Return to Forever. And much to their credit, To Mera manage to pull all this off without sounding confused or unfocused. Transcendental is hard to absorb on first listen -- this is not simplistic music by any means -- but headbangers who have eclectic tastes and are not intimidated by complexity will find this intense yet intricate and highly melodic effort to be quite an adventure.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson