It’s been a while since I was this stumped on properly introducing an album, so, to hell with it: this isn’t your standard record, so this won’t be your standard introduction. Tempest’s newest, self-titled release is definitely one of the most unique and memorable albums I’ve listened to, especially regarding immediate impact after a first listen. It’s dark, heavy, intense, and makes me feel, well, something different than I’m used to.
The eight-song album starts off with a hauntingly ambient opener to try and set the mood for the record. Still, no amount of foreshadowing can prepare a listener for what follows. Within seconds of the album’s second track, “A Grand Design,” I was hit with a massive wave of confusion. It took me a few minutes to process how I felt about the music that I was listening to. Sure, the instrumentals are heavy, dark, and have a certain ambience to them, but what caught my attention were the vocals. The vocals are gruelling and chaotic, and honestly sound like they were captured from a torture chamber. They’re buried low enough in the mix to ignore if you’re not a fan of screams from the pits of hell, yet, they still have enough of a presence to give off this weird emotional aspect to the overall sound, which complements the eerie instrumentals well.
The only issue I can find with accurately achieving this type of sound is that no track really stands out from the other. Once these songs reach their climaxes, it gets pretty repetitive once you’ve calmed down from the initial shock of what that peak sounds like. Still, Tempest makes great use of dark, ambient tones to introduce new elements, which prevents each song on this album from being one continuous bash to the face after another.
As mentioned before, I’m not sure what the songs on Tempest make me feel. Not so much rage, but maybe just concern. I mean, is the lead singer okay? Can I get a status update on the guy? How many Lego bricks did he have to step on to sound so pained? Regardless, you should check out this record. It’s only a dollar for all eight tracks (or free on their Facebook page if you’re THAT cheap,) and it’s well worth the price for the initial listening experience alone.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy