What I’m Listening To: To-Mera, TesseracT, and Means End

Ing over at Blog Ing recently posted about a new band he discovered, and he linked over to my music category here on the blog. I haven’t been paying much love to that category lately, which isn’t to say that I haven’t been listening to music and discovering lots of cool bands. Quite the opposite.

So it’s time to share some cool and interesting music that I’ve been enjoying these days. Here goes.

First is To-Mera, a progressive metal band from England fronted by the Hungarian singer Julie Kiss. To-Mera features nonstandard song structures, crunchy, technically awesome guitar riffs, interesting atmospheric sounds, and the occasional jazz interlude. Kiss’s voice is pretty unique in the genre, as she sings almost entirely without vibrato. At first I thought it was just part of their jazz leanings, but then I listened to some of her songs from a former band, and she sang the same way then. In any case, it’s part of To-Mera’s musical style. The song I’m going to share is called The Lie. It’s one of their heavier songs and features a fun jazz interlude shortly into the song (at about 2:30).

Next is TesseracT, a djent band also from England. Highly technical, with lots of djenty guitar riffs, ethereal atmospheric elements, and a mix of melodic and aggressive vocals. On their second album they got a new singer and ditched the aggressive vocals completely, which I felt kind of ambivalent about. They said that’s actually what they had wanted all along but they felt the metal community wouldn’t be as accepting without the aggressive vocals. The song I’m going to share is Nascent, which I think was their first official single and features all the elements that make the band unique.

Finally we have Means End, another djent-style progressive metal band with some jazz infusion, choral elements, complex crunchy guitar riffs, and philosophical lyrics. One of the goals of Means End is to incorporate “intricate melodic patterns introduced in baroque music [and] chord structures not belonging to the diatonic scale, etc. (source)” Their songs tend to feel a little overwhelming at times as they have so much going on that doesn’t fit what you expect. The song I’m going to share is Nox Aurumque, an interpretation of the modern choral piece by composer Eric Whitacre.

So there you go. That’s what I’ve been listening to lately. Fairly soon I’ll share some more, this time from bands that fall closer to the symphonic/gothic side of the genreā€”bands like Nightwish, We Are The Fallen, and Kamelot. I’d like to do another one that reviews the latest from Dream Theater and similar bands like Circus Maximus.

What are you listening to?

4 comments so far

  1. Ing | Tuesday, 20 August 2013, 12:20 am |

    The To-Mera song was awesome, right up until the jazz interlude. (Not that there’s anything wrong with jazz, but just dropped without warning into a song that heavy? Really?) Plus I can’t handle that super-fast plecka-plecka-plecka-plecka death-metal style they threw in, either. That could have been a really good song, but they did some terribly wrong things to it. (You may think otherwise, but I know…) :)

    But the Tesseract song…epic. And the Means End song…even epic-er. Nox Aurumque blew my mind. It’s on repeat right now. The most awesome song I’ve heard in quite a while. I didn’t give Tesseract or Means End enough of a chance the first time around; I’m gonna have to do some more listening.

  2. Ben | Tuesday, 20 August 2013, 8:39 am |

    To-Mera can definitely be a little schizophrenic, and The Lie is one of their most schizophrenic songs. But that’s partly what I like about it. :) I really wanted to post two or three of their songs to give a better feel for their overall sound, but I didn’t want to post to get too long. I’ll have to see if there’s another song you’d like better (but if you really didn’t like the jazz interlude, that might be tough).

    I just listened to the TesseracT song again and got chills. Their guitar riffs totally blow me away. I don’t know how they do it. That soft part at about 3:00, followed by that massive riff at 3:14 … that blows me away every time.

    Same thing with Nox Aurumque at about 1:05 with the soft, soaring vocals followed by the massive aggression at 1:25. I love the contrast. Each part of the song gives the other parts more meaning with the juxtaposition.

    I’m glad you liked TesseracT and Means End better the second time around. Sometimes you just have to be in the right frame of mind.

  3. M Harold Page | Wednesday, 4 September 2013, 10:24 am |

    I have added To-Mera to my Spotify writing playlist!

    Two different bands you might like:

    Tyr – Viking metal but with lyrical singing.
    Abney Park – The world’s best Steampunk band – you just have to listen to it – can’t describe it.

  4. Ben | Wednesday, 4 September 2013, 11:08 am |

    M, I’m glad you found something to enjoy! Thanks for the recommendations. I have heard a couple of Abney Park songs before, and I think I even downloaded a few free songs from them. But I’ve never really taken the time to listen. I’ll have to give them another shot. I’ll definitely look into Tyr as well.

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