June 4, 2010

Tempest-Another Dawn Review

Tempest is a musical melting pot, fusing together disparate styles to create a potent sonic signature. Their latest release, Another Dawn, continues their tradition of blending Celtic music with various folk and rock genres. The overall effect, however, is much different than groups like Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. Rather than fast-paced punk with occasional Celtic throwbacks, Tempest opts to maintain traditional forms and tempos with a heavier handed approach. The guitars are distorted, violins use psychedelic modulation effects, the bass is loud and proud, and the drumming is rock and roll.
 
Another Dawn sounds as though it was recorded to sound raw. Each of the instruments sounds fairly clean and unprocessed, save for subtle amounts of minimal compression and ambience. Furthermore, it would not surprise me if much of the album was recorded live from the floor. It is clear that the group is trying to capture some semblance of their live energy rather than succumb to top 40 pop standards of production and fidelity. In this regard, however, perhaps a tad more polish would have made the album more accessible. I would be particularly interested to hear what the album might sound like with a few more overdubs and a bit more depth. On the other hand, in its current state Another Dawn captures a sense of live-ness and fun that might not be possible with an alternative production scheme.
 
Tempest succeeds in creating a fun and unique sound in their eclectic mix of rock, folk, and Celtic music. Particularly noteworthy are the album’s instrumental medleys which showcase the band’s quality musicianship. This album would be a great addition to many people’s collection, especially those who have varied or progressive tastes.  When listening to the album, one cannot help but imagine how it would sound in a live setting. Another Dawn features a contagious energy that will leave fans wanting more.
 
Key Tracks: The New Squire: The New Squire/Hiking in the High Country/Ruby as a Child, Verses of Grace, Dagda's Harp: Dagda's Harp/Chief O'Neill's Favorite/Poll Ha'penny
 
Matt Shelvock – May 3, 2010

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