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Tempest Tempest album cover
3.23 | 44 ratings | 8 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1973

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Gorgon (5:44)
2. Foyers Of Fun (3:41)
3. Dark House (5:02)
4. Brothers (3:37)
5. Up And On (4:19)
6. Grey And Black (2:29)
7. Strangeher (4:07)
8. Upon Tomorrow (6:41)

Total Time: 35:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Williams / vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards
- Allan Holdsworth / guitar, violin, vocals
- Mark Clarke / bass, keyboards, vocals (6)
- Jon Hiseman / drums, percussion, producer

Releases information

Artwork: Mati Klarwein

LP Island Records ‎- ILPS 9220 (1973, UK)

CD Bronze ‎- TECP-25453 (1990, Japan)
CD One Way Records ‎- OW 30648 (1994, Canada)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC2266 (2011, UK) 24-bit remaster by Ben Wiseman

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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TEMPEST Tempest ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (36%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

TEMPEST Tempest reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Between the coliseums

Tempest (no relation to the US band of the same name) were most notable for their band members. Formed by Jon Hiseman between Colosseum and Colosseum II, he brought in an at the time very young Allan Holdsworth on guitar.

This their first album was released in 1973. It found Hiseman very much holding the reins, writing most of the lyrics, and assuming production duties. The result is quite a heavy album, with less in the way of jazz influences than Colosseum's work. At times the music has suggestions of MOUNTAIN and Coverdale/Hughes era DEEP PURPLE. Generally considered disappointing at the time of its release, the album has actually stood the test of time rather well. Paul Williams rich, jazzy voice can be something of an acquired taste, but on tracks such as the opening "Gorgon" and the almost commercial "Up and on", the power of his voice comes to the fore. Holdsworth's guitar is generally kept in check, but "Up and on" and "Strangher" allows him some freedom.

Mark Clarke takes on vocal duties for the delicate "Grey and black". His voice is less distinctive than Williams', but suits a softer track like this well. The final track, "Upon tomorrow" is the most progressive and adventurous track on the album, with something of a CHICAGO jazz rock feel to it.

Only one further album was to be made under the Tempest name. This their first album found them a little unclear of the direction they wished to take, which probably contributed to their early demise.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Colosseum's break up came a bit as a (non?) surprise to everyone involved at the end of a tour with Clempson announcing he'd received an offer to join Humble Pie, the group just suddenly broke up without anyone trying to stop it, including leader John Hiseman. It seems everyone had had his fill and the band had run its course without ever having a shot at the US market with another tour. He didn't stay inactive though, keeping bassist Clarke within a few months Tempest was up and fighting, with two multi-instrumentalists coming in, Paul Winter on guitars and keyboards, but singing as well (his vocals resembles quite a bit Farlowe's) and Alan Holdsworth (ex Igginbottom and Nucleus) on guitar and violin. This debut was released in early 73 (recorded in October 72) on the same Bronze label that had seen the last Colosseum album released and it featured a splendid abstract artwork below their mythological snake-lady logo.

Opening on the second-longest track Gorgon (that's a Celtic/Gallic sorceress that used snakes during the Roman empire and is part of the band's imagery, on both their albums), past an intro, we are plunged into a harder-rocking music than anything we'd seen with Colosseum, including huge riffs, loud slow singing and a pedestrian bass, Hiseman's drumming being the most impressive. Clearly Hiseman had decided to bring up the rock part of his music even more up front than the jazz part; and all of the tracks on this side are written by Clarke & Holdsworth, Hiseman providing the lyrics. The following Foyers Of Fun has a bit of a Cream or Mountain feel, Dark Horse keeping the same path, while the start of Brothers sounds slightly more Colosseum-esque, but soon the hard riffs and pedestrian bass are back, but it's the highlight on this side.

The second side is less focused, the songwriting better shared and even outside interference allowed. A strong Holdsworth-penned Up And On starts impressively, retaining a Colosseum edge via the solid drumming and Winter's voice, much reminiscent of Farlowe. The weakest track must be Clarke's Grey & Black, where he sings too (a tame Queen's Mercury comes to mind), but it's also the shortest. Strangeher is a strong hard rocker, reminiscent of the Powell-era of Jeff Beck Group. Clearly the album's apex is the closing Upon Tomorrow where Holdsworth's violin gets a good (and all too rare) chance to shine and the track gets a long crescendo with plenty of interplay (something cruelly lacking on this album) before, between and after the verses.

It's probably safe to say that Tempest was one of those groups where their individual members' credentials exceeded the actual resulting music, fruit of their collaboration. With a line up of Hiseman, Holdsworth (who still had much to prove back then, though), Clarke and Winter, the usual 70's music fan would expect a more interesting album than this debut. Funnily enough, this is Holdsworth's least jazzy album he played on, and it was (partly) his doing for he wrote 5 songs (shared credits, but still), and what really lacks here is more instrumental interplay space, for the song format is simply too mainstream chorus-verse thing. Tons of albums like this cluttered the middle and lower ranks of the charts for Tempest to get a glimpse of sun with their chosen hard rock direction. Holdsworth and Winter would quit the band, but they stayed long enough to meet and play with their replacement Olie Halsall (ex-Patto) for a BBC broadcast, which was finally released with the remastered version of the two albums. While this debut deserves to be heard, just to see what Hiseman wanted to achieve, there is little doubt that it'll probably rarely spin on your turntable.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Cream's influence on the heavy psych and blues scenes was about as deep as it gets, as evidenced by the seemingly endless throngs of Baker, Bruce and Clapton impressionists during the late 1960s. Fortunately many of those short-lived outfits progressed past that rather formulaic sound and began adding elements such as modern jazz, heavy metal and ersatz classical, comprising much of what would years later be termed 'Proto-Prog'. Legendary drummer Jon Hiseman's Colosseum was a product of that energetic period and, after their dissolution, Tempest emerged as its heavier younger brother. The Hiseman legacy would culminate a bit later with the crack Colosseum ll, a hard fusion monster. And though this album is no groundshaker, it holds a mildly warm place in the hearts of many progsters and fusionheads. It was also Allan Holdsworth's first real appearance after the negligible 'Igginbottom's Wrench' record, though he displays little of the attack he would eventually develop. Paul Williams shouts his way through much of this with his Jack Bruce-school vocals, and Mark Clarke does a perfectly reasonable job on bass. 'Gorgon' has Holdsworth opening on an acoustic guitar and turns into a plodding stonehouse rocker, 'Foyers of Fun' is pretty much just that with a touch of Sabbath and Mountain lingering in the back - quite good for what it is - and 'Dark House' just drags with tired White Rabbit psych. Finally some style on 'Brothers', a hard clanger with some soft jazz and a few good vamps, followed by the anthemic 'Up and On' and a neat guitar riff. 'Strangeher' is throwaway R&B save an early shredder from Allan, and 'Upon Tomorrow' is decent jazz-rock balladry featuring a very rare violin perfromance from Holdsworth. Nothing to get excited about and the layer of dust on this music gets thicker with every passing year, but it was a sincere attempt by musicians who would go on to be quite important.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Between Colosseum and Colosseum II Jon Hiseman formed the lesser known Tempest who released two albums in 1973 and 74. With the recent Esoteric remasters it would seem like a good time to review them.

Their eponymous debut is the better of the two and alongside Hiseman the band featured bassist Mark Clarke (also from Colosseum), Paul Williams on vocals and an early appearance from Alan Holdsworth on guitar. It's a good solid effort though it has to be said not on the same level as Colosseum at their best. Musically it's heavier than Colosseum - rock with a bluesy edge and some jazz touches. Williams is a decent singer, his low register not unlike Chris Farlowe, Hiseman's former bandmate. The band all play well as expected. Anyone hearing this for the first time may be surprised by Holdsworth's playing, which despite being an admirable performance, isn't yet showing his trademark sound being a much more rocky style.

Nothing really lets the album down and it showed good potential for a future, it's just not really got anything to lift it above the merely good. It is however a fairly consistent record and despite the lack of any real standout tracks is an enjoyable enough way to spend 40 minutes.

Latest members reviews

4 stars If you search an album of Proto NWOBHM 'Tempest' is you album. Formed by Colosseum drummer Jon Hiseman Tempest is a classical band of transition between Hard Rock and NWOBHM that does not disdain a jump in Prog, but not digging in Prog as Wishbone Ash or Rainbow. This debut album is a typ ... (read more)

Report this review (#221234) | Posted by 1967/ 1976 | Sunday, June 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars GORGON... IN A GOTHIC CATHEDRAL After the Colosseum's disbanded Hiseman formed this Tempest. Jihn Hiseman, probably, is one of the best Prog drummers and this band plays an energic Hard Rock where John Hiseman, Allan Holdsworth and Paul williams dominates the scene. In truth the guitar parts ar ... (read more)

Report this review (#137456) | Posted by Lady In Black | Sunday, September 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first album of TEMPEST released in 1973 "Tempest". The basis of the sound is hard rock. It is a work it makes to the first work and with the distinctive character already. Especially, the guitar play of Allan Holdsworth is an advanced performance that far exceeds usual hard rock. It is a p ... (read more)

Report this review (#55773) | Posted by braindamage | Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In my opinion, this is a good album, plenty of musicianship (Hiseman is one of the greatest drummers of all time, Holdsworth is a genius and Mark Clarke is a great bassist), strong compostions and precise arrangements, but Paul Williams's vocals almost ruins it. He is a powerful singer, but he ... (read more)

Report this review (#42580) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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