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Tempest - Balance CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.54 | 12 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars The perfect balance!

Balance is Tempest's fifth studio album since their inception in the 80's. On their previous album, The Gravel Walk, they reverted to a more classic electrified Folk, focusing too heavily on traditional material and leaving much of the Prog and Hard Rock ambitions that were so apparent on the Turn Of The Wheel album behind. With Balance they are back on track and in line with the title of the album, there is indeed a very appealing balance here between traditional and original material, between acoustic and electric instruments, between instrumental and vocal material and between the Rock and Celtic Folk elements of their sound. The music has a harder edge than on any other Tempest album; this music really rocks! The guitar work by new member Todd Evans is impressive. Particularly on the two exceptional instrumentals Dance Of The Sand Witches and Battle Mountain Breakdown that are credited to Evans. The latter being something of a Neo-Classical Metal piece!

While the band has been through many line-up changes, the presence of Norwegian-born multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Lief Sorbye is what carries the Tempest sound. He is joined here by the aforementioned Evans on lead guitar, Adolfo Lazo on drums, William Maxwell on bass and Jim "Hurricane" Hurley on fiddle. Robert Barry is once again on the keyboards which are mainly Hammond organ and occasional and rather sparse synthesisers. Lief Sorbye himself plays mandolin, mandola, bodhran and harmonica. All involved are excellent musicians!

The album opens with a traditional number called Captain Ward which is one of four traditionals on Balance. The Fairport Convention similarities are very strong here and Sorbye's voice even reminds much of that of Simon Nicol of that band. But Tempest is more progressive and rocks harder compared to Fairport Convention and other classic British Folk Rock bands. Sorbye writes or co-writes about half of the songs here. A trademark of the band is to include one traditional Scandinavian Folk number sung in (some old variant of?) Norwegian! This album in no exception to that and this time is it a number called Villemann. It is hard to point towards stand out tracks on this album as everything is equally exciting. There is so much energy and punch in this music!

Prog fans will probably notice that the songs are shorter this time, no track is over six minutes long. But this should not deter anyone from checking this out. But don't expect too much, however. Tempest's music is still primarily electrified Folk with an edge and some distinct progressive leanings. Many fans of progressive Rock might be more satisfied starting with the brilliant Turn Of The Wheel, but Balance is really great too and both are excellent additions to any Prog collection.

Highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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