Difficult to become invested in

This band’s previous album Her Halo was released almost four years ago now, and in that time Teramaze has gone through another complete reconstruction, both in line-up and in style.

In terms of personnel, Are We Soldiers sees the return of original vocalist Brett Rerekura and a totally different group of musicians surrounding guitarist and mainstay Dean Wells, including Jonah Weingarten from Pyramaze and Echoterra. Essentially a different band than the one that made the previous album, Are We Soldiers is fundamentally dissimilar in style, forsaking the thrashier, heavier sound of Her Halo for a more melodic approach.

Weingarten’s keyboards dominate the sound as the dense, layered production flattens the guitar while turning the spotlight onto Rerekura’s soaring vocals. The overall effect of this is that any real heavy moments are sacrificed for the sake of melody, with the riffing left to chug away almost ineffectively in the background, guitars only really coming to the fore during Wells’ soloing that is always impressive but does little to allay the feeling that something is missing. After a while – and only a short one at that – each track starts to blend into the next until it becomes somewhat bland and nondescript. Rerekura’s vocals are fine but, like the songs, are strangely one-dimensional, with few peaks and valleys, and for all its technical excellence, Are We Soldiers fails to reach any true heights, plodding along with an unusual sameness as it claws its way towards 70 minutes.

It’s a long journey for an album without any real stand outs, making it difficult to become invested in. Fans of this kind of densely melodic prog may well find plenty of delights to uncover among Are We Soldiers’ ten tracks, but others will certainly struggle to engage.

  1. Fight or Flight
  2. Are We Soldiers
  3. Control Conquer Collide
  4. From Saviour to Assassin
  5. Orwellian Times
  6. M.O.N.S.T.E.R.
  7. Weight of Humanity
  8. Fact-Resistant Human
  9. The One Percent Disarm
  10. Depopulate