Thessera - Fooled Eyes Review
Maybe after reading that this band once opened for Angra I should've suspected right away that they would be good, but after hearing a few songs from their Myspace page I wasn't quite sold to the idea yet. Now I can genuinely say that this act has got to be one of the best prog bands I've heard.
Like Angra, Thessera come from Brazil, but instead of power metal or a power/prog hybrid they play purist prog metal inflected with generous spatterings of Latin and a little jazz. You might say they aren't 'pure' prog metal because of this, but it's a moot point since the members of this band appear to still be in their 20s, but they have some major chops. Good lord, do they have some chops.
When I hear this, it reminds me of the 'Big 3' of prog metal(Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Pain of Salvation), but in different ways and degrees. Fooled Eyes has amazing freak-out solofests a la DT, sparingly used symphonic touches hearkening to SX, and the soft, delicate spirit of Pain of Salvation.
Pain of Salvation is the band this group resembles the most, since Marcelo Quina sounds like a brighter version of PoS frontman Daniel Gildenlow, replete with glorious passion and sincerity. Also, they use similar vocal phrasings, such as in the song "Conflagration", where Marcelo is singing one verse and someone else is singing a supporting underverse. This underverse not only supports the song musically, but also conceptually. It's like a forced addendum in which the band can squeeze in precious extras to the storyline little by little.
The concept has a very humanistic slant to it, which is great, but I can't remember exactly what it's about. I think it may have to do with a character who lost consciousness for a long time, but then awoke only to have piece together all the sad details of his life. It's all about relationships- an apologetic dad, a recently deceased friend, etc. I really love to hear metal albums with such personal lyrics because they take the personal nature of some mallcore lyrics(which I respect) and configure them to be classier and more presentable. The only thing conceptually that bothers me is the fact that there is too much dialogue sometimes. For example, in the closing song "Heaven's Gate" there's reckless pandering among the characters, who are discussing all this melodramatic stuff. This gets old, and it bothers me that the protagonist calls his mom 'mum'. Brazil was settled by the Portuguese, not the British! Give the dialect a rest!
Musically speaking, I've got to emphasize once again that these guys are right on the money. Remember "The Dance of Eternity" from Dream Theater's Scenes From a Memory? Well, imagine the overblown insanity of that song dispersed intelligently throughout an entire album. The muscular axework on this baby is one mindf***ing dreammare after the other, and even more worth mentioning is that the insanity doesn't overstay its welcome. We metalheads like our soloing to come and visit, but we also like it go get out the door after 12 AM. It's all taken to the next level by the added positive of the ethnic and jazz influences, not to mention the crystalling keyboard work and solid drumming. Thessera could work on their songwriting a little to make it more memorable, but they hold nothing but promise. They know who their influences are and they deliver.
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Thessera - Fooled Eyes
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