Hailing from Perth, WA, Tempest Rising are a relatively young band, but in the year and a half they’ve been together the band have already seen extensive gigging experience, sharing the stage with some of the bigger names in the Australian metal scene. They’re also due to embark on their first international tour later this year. In late 2012, the band released their first EP ‘Calm Before The Storm’ as a teaser of sorts for their debut full-length album, due out in 2014.
Listening to this EP, it becomes obvious that Tempest Rising has built their sound from quite a wide variety of influences, the band’s core sound is an eclectic mix of metalcore, nu-metal, thrash metal and alternative rock. With a mix of styles like this, there was a large possibility that the music on this 4 track EP could wind up sounding confused. To the band’s credit, they manage to reel in these influences into a largely coherent sound. ‘My Ecstasy’, ‘The Descent’ and ‘No Remorse’ are all filled with blistering drums with a steady double bass attack, guitars that show a good mixture of chunky grooves and splashes of melody, and vocals that seamlessly mingle between clean singing and higher hardcore style barks. ‘Hollow Dreams’ is a much lighter, tranquil track, almost like a ballad, with its soothing synths and acoustic guitar tracks and an entirely clean vocal delivery, finally being joined in the track’s closing minutes by distorted guitars and drums. All four tracks are of a solid standard and show that these guys have a clear direction for their sound in mind.
Unfortunately, the production of the EP is not really given the same care and attention the songwriting was, sounding quite rough around the edges. The general sound of the EP is almost more akin to a set of demo recordings than a professional recording. The drum sound is adequate for these recordings, but sound more in line with e-drums or a drum machine than an acoustic kit. The guitars are suitably heavy with a good tone, but the tone does seem to be lacking clarity, sounding perhaps a little overly distorted. While the vocals throughout are well performed, at times they seem to be pushed a bit further back in the mix than they probably should be. Actually, the guitars tend to dominate the mix a lot of the time, with drums being way back in the mix and bass practically inaudible.
Overall, ‘Calm Before The Storm’ is a fairly strong first showing from Tempest Rising. The songs are all very solid, and the guys sound to have a clear vision in mind for where they want to take the band’s sound. Hopefully when the time comes to record the debut a little more care will be taken on the production end. A worthwhile and enjoyable listen and an overall good sign of things to come.
Reviewed by Matt S.