Tears to Dust
Band:  Teramaze
Label: Rowe Productions
Time: 10 tracks, 48:41
This is the second album by Aussie metal maestros Teramaze, and it's quite frankly one of the most professional projects ever put out by Christians. From the music to the vocals, sonics to lyrics, production to packaging, it's all superbly well-done.  They sound like they've been at it for years.  I'm not quite sure how to categorize the music for metal fans, as it's not my usual style (of metal, that is), but it leans toward a sort of European progressive feel.  They aren't concerned with showing off, but with creating strong songs.  The vocals flirt often with mid-range glam (no high stuff, thankfully), as in much prog, but the hard, biting guitars underneath keep it just this side of annoying for those fans like me who flinch at all things theatrical and pompous in metal. Be warned that some listeners might find the vocals a bit too dramatic,  though.  The last track begins with hauntingly beautiful female vocals in the style of Left Hand Solution or the Gathering.  I wish they'd made more use of that woman's considerable talents.

The music is flowing and powerful like a river of lava, with occasional explosions and eruptions of technical thrash.  Many of those moments are so awesome they give me chills, reminding me of mid-period Tourniquet.  "Everenhancing" especially brings to mind the slower, freakier guitar tones of Pathogenic...-era Tourniquet.  Lead guitar slips in singing at all the right moments, accenting the songs instead of just showcasing the player's skills.  I'm told their indie debut, Doxology, is much thrashier (and you can be sure I'll be searching it out).
The band's devotion to their Lord is seriously and sincerely presented through solidly-written lyrics.  They speak of Christ and a life of faith quite clearly and truthfully, keeping far from cliche through good use of imagery and a musical and vocal delivery that conveys a strong sense of majesty.  On "Deeper Crying," a sampled teacher gives a wise word: "The ultimate purpose of faith is not what we receive....please listen....the ultimate purpose of faith is to please God."  Right on.

By Josh Spencer