Teramaze – And the Beauty They Perceive Review

One country whose output always perks my ears up is Australia. It seems like the Aussies just know how to craft strong albums, whether it’s the catchy hard rock of Butterfly or the avant-garde insanity of Portal, music from Down Under never fails to entertain. Nowhere is this more evident than in the country’s progressive metal scene, which features such bands as Karnivool, Voyager, Dead Letter Circus, and current kings of the mountain Caligula’s Horse. All of these bands craft terrific songs featuring strong musicians, but more importantly stellar vocalists. Let’s go ahead and add Teramaze to this list now. These guys came to my attention with 2015’s gem Her Halo. Much to my surprise,1 earlier this year they released another full-length album prior to this one, called Sorella Minore. We didn’t get promo, but luckily we did for And the Beauty They Perceive.

From short and catchy to long and epic, Teramaze prove that they can write songs that cover the whole spectrum of prog metal. Just check out the single “Jackie Seth,” a song that has no business being as catchy as it is and yet sticks in your ears as much as the drummer’s Bon Jovi shirt sticks in our eyes. The bass groove that opens the song is excellent, and the rest of the track just gets better. Or “Son Rise,” which is reminiscent of Symphony X in its majestic, almost power-prog arrangement – and features the album’s most aggressive riff. Long songs more your thing? The album ends with “Head of the King,” an eleven-minute prog metal epic. Not as epic as the 26-minute title track from Sorella Minore, but awesome nonetheless. These songs all feature great arrangements, outstanding guitarwork, and amazingly strong vocals.

The highlight of And the Beauty They Perceive is unquestionably the vocal performance of guitarist Dean Wells. Wells only recently took the lead on the mic; until a couple years ago he merely provided backup vocals. The decision to take over from Nathan Peachey was Teramaze’s missing ingredient. Sure there might be some autotune going on here and there, but not extravagantly, and Wells’ voice and emotion ranges from strong to staggering. He more than holds his own with the singers from the heavy hitters listed in our intro. Wells and co-guitarist Chris Zoupa deliver some slick riffs and even slicker solos. And while the music has that modern sheen to it, it is not overproduced like the last Haken album, for instance. Buffed and polished, yes, but not quantized to death. There’s still some soul here.

Are there issues? Sure there are. While the band has no dedicated keyboardist, both Wells and Zoupa contribute in that regard and do so in completely unnecessary fashion. Much like on Iron Maiden’s new album, they have decided to underlay synth patches in every section of every song, and have done so with the least offensive sounds possible. The keys are “there” all the time, but add nothing to the songs. The only time my ears perked up from keyboards was in “Search for the Unimaginable,” the most up-tempo and metallic song on the album. The quavering and odd sounds chosen are straight from B-movie horror films, and they sound weirdly cool. Aside from this, the ten-minute “Modern Living Space” does to me what “cleaning woman” did to Steve Martin in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. It’s not a bad song, but when the title is sung it changes my brain in a bad way. I’m sure this won’t be the case for everyone, though, so don’t be frightened.

I’m not sure how big Teramaze are in Australia,2 or how many people around the world are into the band, but fans of the modern melodic prog metal sound should be all over these guys. And the Beauty They Perceive has it all: big riffs, slick yet subdued production, well-written songs, and top-notch vocals. It’s a bit long (the removal of my new nemesis, “Modern Living Space,” would alleviate this) but wholly entertaining. Touch base with me in a couple months; there’s a chance I might be underrating this one.3

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Wells Music
Websites: teramaze.bandcamp.com | teramaze.com.au | facebook.com/teramaze
Release Worldwide: October 5, 2021

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Meaning poorly publicized.
  2. They have less Facebook followers than Angry Metal Guy, just sayin’.
  3. In that regard this reminds me of Queensrÿche’s Promised Land, an album I thought was okay when it came out but is now one of my favorites of theirs.
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