Sunday, April 15, 2018

Album Review: Temperance - Of Jupiter And Moons

If I'm being honest, this has not been a good year so far for power metal. I can't think of a single release yet that has caught my attention, which is odd, since I do still have a soft spot for the genre. While there have been great releases from modern metal, hard rock, AOR, and even progressive death metal, power metal has been a bit of a wasteland for me. Everything I've heard has been too much recycling the tropes of the genre, and not doing it in a way that still featured great songwriting. So when I came across the singles from Temperance, what I heard sounded like it could be the answer to the drought.

The hook with Temperance is that they are able to pepper their songs with vocal flourishes and harmonies, courtesy of the three singers in their ranks. Certainly, the way they blend their voices together for the choruses makes them sound enormous, which is exactly what power metal needs. Harmonies are an under-appreciated aspect in metal, and Temperance uses them to their fullest advantage. After "The Last Hope In A World Of Hopes" opens the album with staccato riffing and some orchestration like a Rhapsody song, anything less in the vocal department would have sounded deflated. But they are up to the task, and it makes their melodies sound even more epic.

The music itself is heavier than a lot of melodic or power metal, which further plays into their strengths. Being able to play heavy guitars off soaring melodies is a winning recipe, one we don't get to hear nearly as often as we should. Most bands aren't capable of playing at both ends of the spectrum, which leads to the stereotype of 'flower metal' being so light, or we get heavy melodic metal that isn't very melodic at all. Temperance is able to split the difference, which puts them right in the heart of success.

The other thing working heavily in their favor is the energy that pours out of the music. Some music played quickly sounds like people playing fast for the sake of playing fast, where there is no feeling and only robotic movement. These songs bristle with energy, and you can feel it as they play out. It's the same sort of connection a band has with an audience during a live show, which is why so many people swear by the live experience, despite the less than idea sonic conditions. To get something approaching that on record is a big deal.

Whether it's "Broken Promises" or "Alive Again", Temperance delivers a record that is lively, engaging, and fun. There are hints of Kamelot in a lot of what they do, but if I'm being honest, this record is magnitudes more enjoyable to sit through than Kamelot's recent outing, despite that album's own high quality. The difference between them is one band is making albums by rote to keep the momentum of their career going, while the other is excited to be building something. I can hear that when I'm listening, and it's an immense difference.

This may be a weak year for power metal, but it's not a weak year for Temperance. "Of Jupiter And Moons" is everything that's good about modern power metal, and while it doesn't have the stature or story behind it that the big names do, it's an album that fans of melodic metal should certainly be checking out. Sometimes albums fly under the radar simply because we aren't looking for them. Let's not have that happen here.

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