Album Reviews : Tempest Rising – Alter Ego
Tempest Rising is a prominent force in the Perth metal scene. The band have gone from strength to strength since they released their debut album Transmutation (2014); solidifying their line-up, touring far and wide (from Japan to Europe and around Australia) and landing numerous support slots alongside the likes of Arch Enemy & Sevendust.
I don’t envy whoever writes the press releases for Tempest Rising; they’re relatively unique in as much as it’s difficult to pigeonhole their sound – to my ears they straddle the lines of so many subgenres of metal – I hear Pantera style Groove metal, Korn influenced Nu Metal, Metalcore and Thrash at different times.
Alter Ego is the title of the band’s second album, and it’s been 5 long years in the making.
The album gets underway with a short Intro which is a fairly typical sort of composition but does its job by creating an air of anticipation for the first track proper, entitled Fuck The Scene. I assume this is a middle finger salute to the Perth heavy music scene, but wouldn’t want to speculate on the reasons for this. Fuck The Scene is a little like a modern Machine Head track to my ears. Fast, Aggressive, with a big Pantera Style breakdown at the end (Dive Bombs Included). It’s a nice, high energy track.
Sleight Everlasting is more of a mid-paced, melodic sort of track. The full range of Vin Trikeriotis’ vocal styles really shine on this one, and rest of the band lay down a solid groove. The band show their sense of humour on this one too – there seems to be an obvious, tongue in cheek vocal nod to a pop track from the year 2000 (once you hear it you cannot un-hear it). Daniel James lays down a really tasteful solo on this one – he has added a new flavour to the band since joining the band after the release of their debut album – his lead work proves to be a highlight more often than not.
Burn Them Down follows in a similar fashion to the previous tracks, mixing mid-paced riffing with up-tempo thrashy sections and an array of vocal approaches. Singularity was released as a single a while ago and it is one of my favourite tracks on the album. It’s short but sweet; packed with riffs, groove and aggression.
Duplicates sounds like a track lifted straight out of the early 2000s, such as the obvious Nu-Metal influence. It’s got a big chorus and a strong groove so fans of Nu-metal will really enjoy this one. Ghosts is another single from the album, released recently with a video clip filmed in Fremantle Prison. Ghost shows the full range of the band’s sound and has plenty of big riffs and big vocal hooks.
The next run of tracks (Curb Stomp, Ostracize Me, Escape The Sky and Revolutionary) solidify what the core of Tempest Rising’s sound is (to my ears at least). Tight, down-tuned heavy riffing is provided by the dual axe attack of Daniel James and James Ward-Armstrong. The guitarists regularly switch from traditional lead/rhythm structures & pairings to unison riffing with harmonised embellishments. Despite a lot of the riffs being more intricate than they sound, the focus of the riffing seems to be primarily on groove – providing chord progressions which allow the vocals from Vin Trikeriotis to take pride of place. The rhythm section of Matty James and Jarrad Cracknell are solid and tight throughout, often locking in together to playing rhythm-heavy lines.
Alter Ego is closed out with Breathe (yet another single put out ahead of the formal album release). It’s arguably the strongest track of them all, flirting with a ridiculous range of moods and styles. Sonically, this one really stands out to my ears as the stop-start groove and open style chords used at times are a point of difference to the downturned chugging employed for the most part on this release. There is an almost progressive touch to this track – whatever the case it’s a really good way to close out the release.
Tempest Rising’s 2nd album Alter Ego is a worthy album – I have no doubt it will do well with their fans. It has built on and progressed their sound from Transmutation without sacrificing the hallmarks that have served them well to date. My only criticism is that perhaps the album is a little on the long side (12 tracks), but maybe I’ve just got a short attention span these days! Get your hands on a copy and make up your own mind!
Band: Tempest Rising
Album: Alter Ego
Label: Firestarter Distribution