TO-MERA, is a U.K.-based (South Oxfordshire) dark progressive metal band fronted by former WITHOUT FACE vocalist Julie Kiss. The band was founded in 2005 and plays a technical style of metal characterized by long songs, multiple time changes and jazz interludes. Their début album "Transcendental" was recorded & published in 2006 by the label Candlelight Records.
The World of Music
After Julie Kiss had left the Hungarian band Without Face, she founded, along with Lee Barrett (formerly with: Extreme Noise Terror, Disgust, Mussolini Headkick), the band To-Mera with the intention to employ a dark and atmospheric metal music style with influences from classical music and jazz,
As the group was complete a first demo was published in June 2005, which got very positive reviews and caught the attention of the record label Candlelight Records. The resulting debut album Transcendental appeared in September 2006 at Candlelight Records and was praised for his ingenuity and high playful skills.
After a few line-up changes, the album Delusions was published in February 2008, which is stylistically very similar to the debut album and which also received positive feedback from the press.
The word 'To-Mera' seemingly refers to Lower Egypt (as the “Land of the Pyramids”) but this translation is disputed. The band opted for the name, because of their fascination (esp. Julie Kiss) with the ancient Egypt culture.
Lower Egypt is the northernmost region of Egypt, including the Nile Delta. Lower Egypt was known as Ta-Mehu which means "land of papyrus."
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends between Aswan (in ancient times Nubia), and the south of Cairo (or Memphis, located 20 km south of Cairo). In Predynastic Egypt (ca. 4400–3000 BC), the Naqada culture was based in this region (named for the town of Naqada; located 40 km north of Luxor).
The music of To-Mera is marked by Julie Kiss' insistent voice, heavy guitar riffs and emotional lyrics. In addition, most of the songs are very long and have a complex structure with diverse style jumps. The music style is influenced by bands like Symphony X, Opeth, Pain of Salvation and Dream Theater.
The song "Blood" from the album Transcendental.
Review of the album Transcendental
Just started to listen to the beginning of the CD, and the first minutes are somewhat reminiscent of the band THE TEA PARTY. Cool Grooves.
This quintet offers a careful selection of progressive Metal, Goth, Thrash riffs and a dry Classical atmosphere; musically astoundingly complex.
This mix of musical influences is greatly responsible for the diversity in their sound. The soft yet strong voice of Julie Kiss tempers everything beautifully (there are no male vocals at all on Transcendental).
The grooves and breaks have a jazzy touch (provided by Jazz guitarist Tom MacLean), without a tendency to produce chaos or create an unfathomable structure. On the contrary, each portion sits in the right place (time) and electrifies the listener.
Julie's voice can be described as a combination of Amie Lee (Evenescence) and Tarja Turunen (Nightwish). A mixture between which adapts intonations from classical music and rock — always soulful and expressive. However, the vocals seem to have been recorded too quiet, and I am curios how this band may sound on stage?!
The band facilitates a keyboard, which sets nice accents and thankfully accepts no solo parts.
You can listen to a load of music, bombastic rhythms (which at times have the finality of an eschatological battle) and ... more. A really great composition.
Conclusion: This debut of the five provides them with a shining future, and I hope that the ladies and gentlemen remain energetically hung in there and continue to produce music. Thumbs up!!!
By the way: if you are into writing reviews or summaries, have a look at this extremely good list of synonyms, sorted by categories, and helpful for novices and experts alike.
- Julie Kiss — Vocals (2004–present; founding member) The lyricist of To-Mera, Julie was the singer of the Hungarian progressive metal band Without Face (Earache Records), who toured extensively around Europe with Arch Enemy, Opeth and Samael in the early 2000s.
- Thomas MacLean — Guitars (2004–present) The principal composer of To-Mera. Tom also performs bass and backing vocals in fellow UK proggers Haken.
- Richard Henshall — Keyboards (2007–present; founding member) Richard is the guitarist and keyboardist of Haken. He replaced former To-Mera keyboardist Hugo Sheppard in 2007.
- Mark Harrington — Bass (2008–present) Mark is a lynch-pin of the London metal scene. He joined To-Mera in 2008 to replace Lee Barrett. Mark also plays bass in female-fronted melodic metallers, Pythia.
- Paul Westwood — Drums (2006–present) Paul joined To-Mera to replace Akos Pirisi in 2006. He is also the drummer for cult atmospheric black metallers Fen.
- Hugo Sheppard - keyboards (2004-2006)
- Akos Pirisi - drums (2004-2007)
- Lee Barrett - bass (2004-2008)
Adapted cover poster from the album Earthbound.
If available, the links point directly to the Wikipedia article, were you can find a review of the respective album.
- (2005) Demo
- (2006) Transcendental - Candlelight Records
- (2008) Delusions - Candlelight Records
- (2009) Earthbound (EP)
- (2012) Exile Released on Illusionary Records in both physical and digital form on September 24th; has been nominated for the Album of the Year 2012 in the Progressive Metal category at the illustrious Metal Storm Awards.
In 2009 To-Mera issued the following announcement about parting ways with their label Candlelight Records: "After releasing two albums on Candlelight Records, we have reached a mutual decision that it is time for this band to move on to pastures new in order to progress. We would like to thank all the staff at Candlelight for all their help during our 4 year relationship."
Currently To-Mera is not connected to any label.
Two of the founding members of To-Mera, guitarist Tom MacLean and vocalist Julie Kiss, started in November 2014 a new symphonic-electric progressive rock project, named “Euphonia” and also released a new single, entitled ‘Breathless’ - see also this
interview with Julie Kiss (published on the venerable ProgMetallZone.com Web-Site).
The band To-Mera is currently not performing any concerts or other known public activities.