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Temperance – The Earth Embraces Us All Review

Released by: Scarlet Records

Release Date: September 16th, 2016

Genre: Modern Melodic Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/temperanceofficial

 

Line Up:

Chiara Tricarico – Vocals

Marco Pastorino – Guitars, Vocals

Sandro Capone – Guitars

Liuk Abbott – Bass

Giulio Capone – Keyboards, Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. A Thousand Places

2. At the Edge of Space

3. Unspoken Words

4. Empty Lines

5. Maschere

6. Haze

7. Fragments of Life

8. Revolution

9. Advice from a Caterpillar

10. Change the Rhyme

11. The Restless Ride

 

Over the past few years, perhaps my favorite melodic metal band of all has been Italy’s Temperance. They started out in 2013, with a lineup that had mostly worked together before in power metal group Bejelit, but they set out to do something a little more modern sounding, something that successfully blended genres together. That’s where their self-titled debut comes in, and while comparisons to Swedish band Amaranthe were immediately obvious (the bands have similar backgrounds,) right from the beginning they showed that they could pull off their own brand of accessible, modern melodic metal while incorporating more traditional metal elements, allowing their music to standout more. Their 2015 sophomore effort Limitless was even more focused on catchy, keyboard driven metal that had quite a bit of mainstream appeal, but again it was the metal elements that allowed it to really shine, and if anything it was an even stronger effort than their already excellent debut. Now in 2016, the band is set to release their third album is as many years, The Earth Embraces Us All. I had very high expectations for this album, naturally, and yet the band managed to blow me away once again, this time by sticking to what worked on their previous albums, while also producing by far their two most ambitious songs to date.

For fans of their previous work, this album won’t seem surprising at first, as all the elements from before are back in full force: It’s still an extremely catchy album, full of hooks and memorable vocal melodies, enhanced by heavy riffs and a ton of electronic sounding keyboards. Likewise, Chiara Tricarico still provides some excellent lead vocals and the songs give her a ton of room to work with as always, while guitarist Marco Pastorino still occasionally chimes in with his ever pleasant clean vocals and fairly solid metalcore screams. Two things initially stand out about this album: First of all, the tempo has been increased further, with the vast majority of the tracks being very fast paced, and the guitars feel even stronger and more prominent than before, especially on heavier tracks like “A Thousand Places”, “Haze” and “The Restless Ride”. I also noticed the increased use of symphonic elements. These have always shown up on Temperance albums, but here the use of orchestral elements feels more prominent than ever before, with the ultra catchy “At the Edge of Space” in particular being dominated by them.

One last big change that takes longer to notice, is the songwriting. At a first glance, this album will feel familiar to fans of their first two, as outside of its extended orchestral opening, “A Thousand Places” is the kind of heavy, modern sounding vocal driven melodic metal the band has always excelled at, complete with excellent vocals from Marco and some very poppy vocals from Chiara during the chorus. This feeling of familiarity carries on throughout the first 2/3 of the album, with everything from the faster paced tracks “At the Edge of Space” and “Empty Lines” and “Revolution” to the very nice ballad “Fragments of Life” all feeling like they would have fit in perfectly on either of their previous albums. Even “Haze”, with its fast paced, breathless vocal lines and heavy use of trance like keyboards feels similar to their work. Which certainly isn’t a bad thing, as they’re all amazing songs and it’s never a bad idea for a band to stick to what they’re best at. The one earlier track that does feel somewhat new is “Maschere”. Musically it’s nothing terribly surprising: It starts out slow and soft, feeling like a ballad, before picking up the tempo during the chorus. What makes it different, though, is that it’s sung entirely in Italian, and while Chiara sounds great in English, getting to hear her sing in her native language is a real treat, and towards the end of the track she delivers some of her best vocals on the album.

It’s towards the end of the album where the band really starts to spread their wings and explore new territories, in impressive ways. Broken up in the middle by another nice ballad in “Change the Rhyme” are the two longest songs the band has written to date. First up is “Advice From a Caterpilar”. It starts off as a fast paced power metal influenced track like usual, dominated by keyboards and featuring a very catchy chorus, but a few minutes in is a very nice piano section, followed by an epic symphonic part where Marco takes over vocals, and from there we get a really nice extended instrumental section. A while into this section, we get some saxophone (which also appears briefly towards the end of“A Thousand Places”) and while it’s usually my least favorite instrumental and can be hard on my ears at times, on this track it actually sounds very nice and provides a surprising and relaxing break from the rest of the track, before the band comes back in and we get some more epic vocal sections. All in all they managed to nail the balance between being catchy and also having enough interesting music to help fill up the 8 minutes the track lasts.

Lastly, we have “The Restless Ride”, a near 13 minute epic I certainly would have never expected to hear from this band. It begins with an extended piano intro, before again turning into the kind of up tempo, keyboard driven modern metal the band excels at, and once again Chiara provides some excellent vocals and the chorus is easily one of the highlights, while the symphonic elements are also in full force. Not quite midway through is an epic part where the symphonic elements take over, and not long after this is an excellent extended instrumental section. After a while the music goes quiet, giving way to an epic choral section, and it almost feels like the song is about to come to an end…. And then we get the most shocking section on the entire album! I won’t spoil it, but suffice to say I was completely stunned the first time I heard it and even had to check to make sure I didn’t accidentally switch to a different album. It’s this ability to provide unexpected and shocking moments in the middle of an already excellent track that has helped helped Temperance reach a whole new level with this album, and once again they manage to provide several memorable, super catchy vocal sections while also filling the track with a ton of surprises and some excellent instrumental work. After the surprising section and more runs through the chorus, the album ends with another extended piano section. Simply put, this is my favorite Temperance song to date, and one of the most impressive songs I’ve heard all year.

I already thought Temperance had stepped up their game big time on Limitless, but with their new release The Earth Embraces Us All, they have surprised me with two of their most ambitious and impressive songs to date, while still providing the kind of catchy, keyboard and vocal driven melodic metal they’re known for. Obviously, this album is a must hear for fans of the band, but I’d also recommend it to any fans of melodic metal who enjoy the use of electronic keyboards and can tolerate or enjoy the screams like I can, as well as anyone who wants to hear two extremely good epic length tracks, something that can be hard for some bands to pull off, but Temperance sure nailed it this time.

 

Reviewer: Travis Green

Rating:  10/10

 

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