"The Double Cross" (Magna Carta; 2006)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I am continually surprised by the new forms of music that I am exposed to as a part of this Rough Edge gig or at least the forms that are new to me. A few months ago I was taken aback by the relatively new "Nintendo-core" sound that is all the rage. Just now I get the opportunity to expand my listening horizons by hearing Tempest's "The Double Cross" and the blend of traditional/folk sounds combined with rock intensity and informed by the spirit of progressive rock.

I've been aware of Tempest for quite some time probably going as far back as 2000 or so just about the time I learned of the Magna Carta label. I was even slightly aware of Tempest's connection to folk-rock legends Caliban (not to be confused with the Germany-based metalcore band Caliban). I even learned that the band's history and albums date to 1990.

I was always reluctant to listen to Tempest because I was certain the band's self-coined "Celtic rock" sound would lack the kind of energy and rage that I so often like to hear. Not known to these ignorant ears (up until now) is the use of Scandinavian melodies as a sonic counterpoint to the more Celtic sounds you'd expect from Tempest.

Tempest is definitely rooted in the folk/rock sound, but I was surprised at how invigorating the music really is. Apparently, the band has tended to rock out a bit more over their latest releases and that is certainly evident here. Original compositions like "Vision Quest" and traditional numbers like "Cabar Feidh" are about as happy and uplifting as you'll find in rock these days.

Given that "The Double Cross" is my first real experience with the band I'd have to say I was fairly impressed. However, I fully recognize that Tempest would probably only be of interest to fans of progressive music. If "The Double Cross" is any indication Tempest seems to have a lot to offer in terms of broadening one's listen experiences.

"The Double Cross" was produced by Robert Berry.

Tempest: Lief Sorbye on lead vocals, mandolin, octave mandolas, harmonica, flute, bodhran, and tambourine; Ronan Carroll on guitar and harmony vocals; Michael Mullen on fiddle, viola, and harmony vocals; Ariane Cap on bass and harmony vocals; and Adolfo Lazo on drums. Robert Berry contributed keyboards. The Wicked Timbers, including Aaron Shaw, Warren Casey, Keith Jones, and Jay Atwood, contributed bagpipes, tapan, snare drum, djembe, and didgeridoo.

For more information visit http://www.tempestmusic.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 27 May 2024 13:33:04 -0400 .