Teramaze – Flight of the Wounded Review

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right up front. Those of you who only want to listen to bands featuring orcs as lead singers will not enjoy this. So, no need to skim down, glance at the rating, and post a comment about how much clean boy band vocals suck. Plenty of other music out there, my friends! Those of you who actually enjoy clean vocals and slickly produced melodic prog metal, read on. You’re probably already familiar with the suddenly prolific Australian prog outfit Teramaze. Flight of the Wounded is their fourth album in about two years, after six in the previous fifteen years. Often bands succumb to the Law of Diminished Recordings™ – does Teramaze suffer this fate?

Thankfully, no. Somehow the band continues to churn out compelling material. Even though Flight of the Woundedcarries on for a whopping sixty-two minutes, eight of these nine songs keep us firmly engrossed. Even the opening title track, the longest song at nearly eleven minutes, doesn’t drag at all. On paper every song is longer than it should be, yet we never find ourselves waiting for a track to end. Throughout the album Teramaze stick to their tried-and-true formula of soaring vocals, poppy synth patches, chugging, thick guitars, and punchy production, but what keeps the quality high are the strong songwriting and arrangements. Some bands have a knack for writing memorable hooks: Teramaze have proven to be one such band, and their hooks come through on vocals, guitars, and keyboards, giving the songs an air of complexity and accessibility at the same time.

Highlights abound on the album, with almost every song featuring great arrangements and killer vocal hooks. “Gold” is a prime example, with glistening synth patches underpinning the chugging, djenty guitar rhythms, both augmenting a soaring chorus. “For the Thrill” adheres to the same template, while closing track “In the Ruins of Angels” is more subdued, building methodically from an epic-sounding intro through quiet verses to a massive guitar solo and an appropriately climactic resolution. As fans of the band know, guitarist Dean Wells took over vocals a few years ago, and has improved on each album. Here on Flight of the Wounded he pushes himself further than ever and it pays off. His delivery on songs like is impeccable, and aside from the too-saccharine work on “Until the Lights” he nails everything.

I’m not the biggest fan of the opening vocal melody on “Until the Lights.” The song comes off like something from America’s Got Talent, which is too mainstream even for the likes of me. The song makes Journey sound hardcore and is the only miss on the album. It leads into the heaviest song on the album, “Ticket to the Next Apocalypse,” which aside from some completely unnecessary and not very good harsh vocals is a killer track. That’s basically where the complaints end, though. Flight of the Wounded sounds excellent, as the production is spot on, and somebody has used a deft hand on the mastering knobs. Every instrument cuts through perfectly, and Wells’ vocals, both performance and production, are his best so far on the four albums he’s sung on.

Flight of the Wounded doesn’t revamp Teramaze’s formula; it is more of the same, but also more of the same high quality in the songwriting department. Who knows how much longer Wells and company can ride this creative wave, but for now we can all sit back and enjoy the fruits of their efforts. This is ten years and eight albums of quality melodic prog, and with no sign of letting up I’m looking forward to another strong entry this time next year.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Wells Music
Websites: teramaze.bandcamp.com | teramaze.com.au | facebook.com/teramaze
Release Worldwide: October 6, 2022

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