How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
According to the press kit, the loyal fan base of Celtic prog-rock band Tempest, were the advisors who helped determine which tracks should appear on the 10th Anniversary Compilation. The driving factor here, was that these songs were to be culled from their pre-Magna Carta catalogue; which represents 4 releases on independent labels that are now either collectors items or out of print. Re-arranged and produced by Renaissance man, Robert Berry along with a new lineup, Tempest adds a fresh look and feel to some of their old crowd favorites
Tempest are a band which blend traditional Irish, Scottish highlands grassroots folk with contemporary progressive-rock stylizations albeit, in a somewhat thematic approach. Solid backbeats and perhaps a bolder attack than the legendary British folk rock band Fairport Convention. We hear a hard-rock Irish jig motif on the affable “Milligan’s Fancy” as vocalist, instrumentalist, Lief Sorbye states..”These tracks are way superior to the old recordings, much more mature...” They also credit producer and keyboardist Robert Berry for adding a touch of flair to this project. Songs like “Top Of The Hill” feature folksy violin and lead electric guitar performances, which provide that **added bite** . Clever shifts in tempo and some down home electric/acoustic mandolin work from Sorbye keep the proceedings good-natured and entertaining while Lief Sorbye’s magical vocals annotate a tale about a pirate on “Captain Morgan”. On “Jenny Nettles”, the band integrate Celtic folk with hard-boiled crunch chord guitar work reinforced by the potent and precise rhythm section. Lief Sorbye sweetens things up a bit on the intro. to “The House Carpenter” as he utilizes a pennywhistle to state the lovely melody. Here, the band advance this piece into an unabashed series of sparkling, well-stated choruses spearheaded by guitarist Dave Parnall and violinist Michael Mullen.
Tempest has proven they are more than a niche band. Tempest blend disparate genres into a viable signature style sound which at times throws balls to the wall while retaining their roots; hence, a happy medium which works in spirited fashion. Recommended... * * * ½
Lief Sorbye; Lead Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Mandolins; Octave Mandols, Flute, Pennywhistle and Bodhran: John Land; Fretted & Fretless Bass, Harmony Vocals: Adolfo Lazo; Drums: Michael Mullen; Acoustic Fiddle & Five-String Electric Violin, Harmony Vocals: Dave Parnall; Electric & Acoustic Guitars.
Special Guest; Robert Berry; B-3 Hammond organ, Piano, Accordion, Synthesizer, Production