Welcome to Day 5 of my ‘Album Of The Year 2015’ top 30 countdown. I hope you’ve enjoyed my picks so far. If you’re new to this list, numbers 27-30 can be accessed via links at the bottom of this post.
Otherwise, with no other wordy fanfare, I give you my pick at number 26:
If this album had been released earlier in the year, it would probably have been a lot higher on my list. I say this with confidence because since I wrote a full review of it a couple of months ago, my admiration of this record has already grown stronger. The fact that my three-year-old enjoys listening to it with Daddy in the car has to add extra kudos but what really grants it a place in this list is the sheer quality of the music on offer.
‘Her Halo’ is the fifth album from Australian quartet, Teramaze and, coming from a position of knowing very little about them, I have found myself blown sideways by this record. And that’s always nice as far as I’m concerned.
My full review can be read here, but to quote one small passage: “Theirs is a melodic metal framework around which they then experiment with symphonic, progressive and even thrash metal themes and ideas. Where Teramaze really excel though is in terms of the compositional nous, the innate sense of melody and an acute comprehension of what makes a powerful piece of music that will have the listener returning for frequent repeat spins. The keys add to the richness and depth of the songs and, whilst they never get in the way or sound cheesy, they’re there throughout the album to add another dimension and a sense of the dramatic.”
Some of the tracks on the album have significant lengths and, having initially questioned whether the compositions demanded such treatment, I have now seen the error of my ways. They don’t feel bloated or lacking in direction at all; instead, the compositions bound along with energy and purpose injecting a sense of the dramatic along the way. The forays into progressive or symphonic territories simply add another level of enjoyment to the album.
To underline this point, the album opener ‘An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)’, is an epic monster. It clocks in at over 12 minutes but once it gets under your skin, it flies by in a blaze of glory. From fast-paced riffs to dramatic theatrics, from hook-laden melodies to more progressive themes, this track has it all. The spoken word segment that then leads into a poignant lead guitar solo is magical and raises the hairs on the back of my neck.
Crucially, the quality does not end there and the remaining seven tracks are all great in their own right. Personal favourites include the utterly stunning ballad ‘Broken’, ‘For The Innocent’ which features some cracking melodies and the wonderfully dramatic closer ‘Delusions Of Grandeur’.
On that note, there are no delusions of grandeur with ‘Her Halo’; if you are a fan of melodic metal with symphonic and progressive overtones, this is a no-brainer, worthy of your full attention.
And from previous years: