The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Tempest – Passages
Now I know the majority of the bands/albums I discuss for this article are from my years of growing up and listening to heavy music, but I feel this one time I need to make an exception for a band I only just started listening too. Why? Because they blew my god damn mind, that’s why. While doing my routine rummaging of the internet looking for bands, I stumbled upon Tempest, and little did I know that this Canadian outfit was about to take me by storm with their mesh of post-metal/rock and hardcore music that enveloped itself in a dark outer casing of despair and crust. Suffice to say, it was pretty much love at first listen.
If only I knew about Tempest last year when their debut full-length Passages came out. It would have surely made it into my top ten of 2010, but unfortunately, that’s not how it worked out. So I’m making up for that by sharing my thoughts on the bands album now, in hopes that someone reading this will check them out and start digging them as hard as I do.
Only having released a 7″ that came out in 2009, their debut, Passages, is quite impressive. It takes the typical neo-crust template and filters in styles of hardcore and even elements of post-rock to make an emotive and highly engaging piece of music. Over its 25 or so minute length, the band does a great job of constructing dense layers of distortion, feedback, and distressed riffs/vocals over the course of the first six tracks, eventually leading up the albums lengthy and quite satisfying closer, “Passages”. In fact, just listen to the opening track “Year of Ash” to see just how well Tempest set up the tone for the entire duration of the album…
Tempest – “Year of Ash”
This band knows how to craft a well structured album by encompassing a plethora of moods all of which are reflected in the tempo and pace of the accompanying music. Rage, bitterness and utter desperation are all here, making this one of the darkest LPs I’ve heard in a long time. Tracks like “Death Rattle”, with its slow rising tempo just sucks you further into this desolated nightmare that Tempest have laid out. Another strong point for Passages is the two brief audio samples they took from the classic Charlie Chaplin movie, The Great Dictator. They took the audio from very moving speech and split it up into two parts for two of their songs. You can hear the first part at the end of “Hierarchy of Greed” and the second part near the end of “Passages”. Now what makes this particular audio sample so engaging and moving is that it’s a joyous and inspirational monologue, one which contrasts sharply to the darkness of the album it’s been juxtaposed against. It’s that ray of light we all depend upon when dealing with our own darkest of times.
Simply put, Passages is a hardcore album through and through, but with a much darker edge to it. And although they are new to my music library, these guys have found a place in my rotation and I don’t see them leaving it anytime soon.
Tempest – “Passages”