(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
(originally written for www.prog4you.com)
Thessera is a Brazilian band, and they started out in 2003. Fooled Eyes is their debut album. Musically, Thessera has chosen to play progressive metal. And they are one of the few groups in this genre that can be said to have created their own sound, which in itself is impressive. Due to the sound and production chosen, you'll be able to hear similarities to Dream Theater's debut album When Dream And Day Unite from time to time; but overall Thessera mostly sound like themselves.
What you get then, is a sound where the guitar plays a major role in the individual songs melody. The guitar sound is very polished and subdued in the soundscape, but still very much a metal guitar sound. The piano is used to convey the main melody as well in many songs, which works out very well.
The synth is present all over the place, but is only very rarely given a dominant role in the soundscape. Mostly, the synth is used to enhance and create moods in the soundscape; on the few occasions where you'll hear a synth solo here it will always be accompanied by another instrument in the soundscape, mostly the guitar.
The guitar solos have to be mentioned as well. You do get the more or less traditional fast paced soloing on this album indeed, but just as often the group chooses to perform solos that convey melodies instead of scales and pace, where the drawn out notes is just as important as moving up and down the fretboard. All in all, melodies seems to be more important for these guys than for most prog metal bands.
In addition to this, Thessera has spiced their music with a couple of elements to further separate their sound from other groups. The drumming is clearly jazz inspired, and the piano, which is much used, is also played in a quite jazzy manner at times. Furthermore, the group adds small segments of fusion inspired playing in quite a few of the songs, which are clearly utilized as effects. Add to that a production and a mix where instruments quite often are placed differently in the soundscapes than what is normal (subdued soloing where guitar riffs take the main place in the soundscape for instance), the end result is a group presenting a rather unique and original sound.
The main weakness in Thessera's set-up is the vocal performance. The vocalist has a limited range and a voice that can be a bit irritating at times; especially in the more mellow sections I found it a taxing listen.
The individual songs are mostly good. I have marked down two tracks as average; "Party's On" and "Conflagration", but I really can't put my finger on what's lacking in those two tracks; apart from the fact that they never managed to engage me. The rest of the songs here were very good, in my opinion.
Recommended tracks: "The Gallery", "Candlefire", "Heaven's Gate"