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(65 min, Progrock)
TRACK LIST: 1. Le Chef D'Oeuvre 3:27 2. The Gallery 10:37 3. Broken Psyches 6:37 4. Candlefire 5:29 5. The Leading Roles 5:06 6. Party's On 7:28 7. Inverse 9:14 8. Conflagration 7:42 9. Heaven's Gate 9:07 LINEUP: Marcelo Quina - vocals Raphael Lamin - guitar Nando Costa - guitar Marcelo Mattos - bass Fernando Cerutti - drums Rodolfo Amaro - keyboards
Prolusion. Not much to say here. Formed in 2003 in Brazil, THESSERA had time to play numerous gigs in their homeland before occupying the studio to record "Fooled Eyes", which is their debut CD.
Analysis. The progressive musicians' interest in making concept albums still has no tendency to decrease, which is good to my mind. The story of "Fooled Eyes" is a dramatic, at times nightmarish travel through the labyrinths of a human soul. Musically, this is an adrenaline-laden collection of nine compositions, some of which are firmly rooted in the classic Dream Theater style (yet sounding non-derivative), some evoking:-) exclusively Thessera, though the number of such is relatively little. The reference to the contemporary Prog-Metal Heroes is valid above all regarding the four mini-epics - The Gallery, Inverse, Conflagration and Heaven's Gate, the latter three concluding the recording. Sure, on each the listener will find many intricate, often avalanche-like arrangements, a lot of virtuosi, at times machine-gunfire-like solos, odd time signatures, complex harmonies, very frequently changing configurations of the picture - probably everything that we value heavy progressive music for. This is Prog-Metal with a fine balance between melody and complexity, revealing its makers to be respectable followers of their mighty benefactors, the vocals being the only thing that arouses instant associations with them. The opening number Le Chef D'Oeuvre (which is the only instrumental on the album) is much in the same vein, but strange to say, it sounds surprisingly original, perhaps just because the direct parallels between Thessera and Dream Theater can be drawn only on the vocal angle. This is an awesome, highly intriguing composition with intense, ever-changing arrangements which unexpectedly find their conclusion in a classical-like postlude. What's curious is that all the songs here, excepting Party's On and Inverse, have a kind of acoustic prelude with the piano playing either alone or along with acoustic guitar. Well, I've just remembered that Heaven's Gate begins with massive string arrangements, but I don't feel any discomfort by knowing they are synthetic, as they have a really classical verve. Broken Psyches could've been listed along with the four pieces described first had it not stood out for a lengthy instrumental section with clavier-like solos at the fore, which is just filled with a sense of Baroque music. Together with Le Chef D'Oeuvre, the remaining three songs (all being gathered in the middle of the CD) are my favorites, and while they are somewhat less intricate than any of those already mentioned, two of them possess everything necessary to please any fan of Progressive Rock and are true pieces of art in a general sense. The song Party's On begins as a swinging piano-based Jazz-Fusion, later on alternating heavy and symphonic textures, and then finishing with some mind-blowing guitar riffs. Candlefire is a perfect example of the group's fully-independent compositional thinking, revealing a lot of innovative ideas, thus showing their huge songwriting potential. This is a unique symphonic Folk Rock / Metal whose wellsprings can be found in North European and Latin American traditional music, though the acoustic guitar and bass solos, following one another shortly after the introductory theme, are done in a Flamenco style. Finally, The Leading Roles is the most diverse (and, hence, easily the best) ballad I've heard this year, notable for two remarkable instrumental interludes and for a rich instrumental background in general. Woven almost exclusively of symphonic fabrics, it also has a distinct acoustic feeling, which isn't overwhelmed even when drums, piano and acoustic guitar are joined by electric guitar whose refined solo is delivered in a clearly bluesy fashion.
Conclusion. Overall, Thessera's "Fooled Eyes" conforms to the highest standards adopted in contemporary Prog-Metal, though personally, I see the main worth of this creation in its conceptuality and the diversity of its musical languages. This is a strong debut offering that might receive a wide acceptance in corresponding circles and beyond. I'd only recommend to the band that in their future work they concentrate on the ideas they've laid on the songs that stronger accentuate their identity, meaning certainly Party's On, Le Chef D'Oeuvre, and especially Candlefire.
VM: October 15, 2006
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