Album Title: Are We Soldiers
Label: Mascot Label Group
Date of Release: 21 June 2019
Melbourne-based Teramaze, led by their founding member Dean Wells, have been in existence since the early-mid 90s but I didn’t jump on the bandwagon until a few years ago when I discovered the Australian quintet’s fifth full-length release, 2015’s ‘Her Halo’.
Stylistically, ‘Are We Soldiers’ (is it just me or is the album title irritatingly missing a question mark?) continues where ‘Her Halo’ left off, in that it is an album that is grandiose and symphonic melodic metal with bite, elegance and progressive intent. It is the kind of recipe to which I tend to naturally gravitate. I’m a sucker for the kind of polished melo-prog that Teramaze deliver and so it comes as no surprise to announce that ‘Are We Soldiers’ is something of a hit with me.
It isn’t a complete home run because there’s a case to be brought before the jury that the album is a little lengthy, with only four of the ten tracks clocking in at under six minutes. In addition, as lush as the music is, I do occasionally find that there’s a lack of variety to be heard; for the most part, the songs occupy that mid-pace tempo and the layers of synths threaten to rob some of the tracks with a little of their bite.
But these are small concerns when overall, the music is of a very high and professional calibre, with the vast majority of the songs warranting their extended lifespans, most containing a subtle or not-so-subtle earworm or two and all featuring some genuine musical proficiency and talent from all corners.
A personal favourite track, ‘From Saviour To Assassin’, is a great example of Teramaze firing on all cylinders. Having spoken about the mid-tempo that typifies large swathes of the album, this track rips from the speakers at a pronounced pace, with an irresistibly catchy chorus, epic mid-section and some very perky percussion and rhythms. It’s the kind of track that plants a dirty great smile on your face and tests my resolve as I itch to hit the ‘repeat’ button.
Interestingly, ‘Are We Soldiers’ features a change of vocalist, with Brett Rerekura replacing previous frontman Nathan Peachey. It was a short-lived replacement as it turns out because Peachey is back in the fold after just a year out. However, Rerekura does a sterling job behind the microphone, leading the line well. His voice suits the music very nicely and does a great job when harmonising with guitarist, principle songwriter and founder Wells.
All-in-all, ‘Are We Soldiers’ is a hugely positive release indeed. I have bought a copy for my ever-growing collection and I don’t regret it in the slightest. In fact, in true slow-burner style, I am liking it more and more as time goes by. At this exact juncture, I’d profess to marginally prefer ‘Her Halo’ but I am very open to the idea that this may change at some point in the future as the strengths of the material on offer here work their way deeper into my consciousness.
The Score of Much Metal: 84%
If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others from 2019:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: