Album Reviews

Temperance – Of Jupiter And Moons Review

Released By: Scarlet Records

Release Date: April 20th, 2018

Genre: Modern Melodic Metal

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

 

Line Up:

Alessia Scolletti – Vocals

Michele Guaitoli – Vocals

Marco Pastorino – Guitars, Backing Vocals

Liuk Abbot – Bass

Alfonso Mocerino – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. The Last Hope in a World of Hopes

2. Broken Promises

3. Of Jupiter and Moons

4. Everything That I Am

5. We Are Free

6. Alive Again

7. The Art of Believing

8. The Way Home

9. Empires and Men

10. Daruma’s Eyes (Part 1)

 

In what has been a year full of surprises so far, it’s nice to finally have something that’s largely unsurprising, while still managing to feel refreshing and energizing at the same time. Obviously, Italian melodic metal band Temperance have been one of my favorites in their field ever since they released their self-titled debut in 2014, with their two subsequent releases only impressing me even more, to the point where they quickly became one of my favorite bands and one I could consistently depend on to deliver amazing new music within a short of amount of time. Sadly, all good things must eventually come to an end, and so just as the band had seemingly reached their peak, vocalist Chiara Tricarico and keyboardist/drummer Giulio Capone both left in between albums, leaving the two remaining members to find new bandmates and start over. Somehow, though, the band has not only continued on, but now with their new lineup they are set to release their fourth full-length album, Of Jupiter And Moons, an album that continues their streak of amazing albums, and while it’s a much different beast from its predecessor, The Earth Embraces Us All, it’s very much on the same level, and n some ways even more enjoyable and immediately engaging.

Even with a new lineup, the overall sound is still very much what Temperance fans would expect, which is to say the band plays a very modern sounding brand of melodic metal, with trance keyboards being as prominent as ever, and there’s still an emphasis on big vocal melodies and super catchy songwriting. If anything, the songwriting is a bit more straight-forward and even catchier than normal on this album, with many songs having choruses that are sure to be stuck in my head for a very long time, and the melodies are absolutely beautiful, as always. In fact, this album has some of the absolute best melodies I’ve heard on a metal album in quite some time, with everything from the keys, to the ever more prominent symphonic elements to even some of the melodic guitar leads all sounding absolutely gorgeous. At the same time, there’s definitely still some heavy guitar work at points, and the speedy power metal elements are still intact, with many of the tracks being very up-tempo and energetic. While the keyboards are still very noticeable, especially on some of the lighter and slower paced tracks, they don’t feel quite as overpowering this time around, and I definitely notice the symphonic elements even more than on the last album, with them sometimes taking over as the main element of the music, though guitars and keys are still very important throughout. The instrumental work is excellent throughout, with some very memorable solos and excellent melodies and riffs all around, and new drummer Alfonso Mocerino fits in very well, especially on the faster tracks where his drumming is very energetic. The one element that seems to be absent from this release is the melodic metalcore elements, though honestly, that was the one element I always felt could have been removed without much being lost, so its absence doesn’t bother me at all. As always, the production is flawless, and the many elements all sound powerful and perfectly clear.

The one area where I was most concerned going into this album was the vocals because Chiara was such an important part of the band, so I wasn’t sure how the band could replace her. Well, the truth is they didn’t quite replace her at all, so much as they decided to move in a slightly different direction, switching to a three-vocalist approach. While he doesn’t sing as much as before, guitarist Marco Pastorino still occasionally lends his powerful and intense voice in quick bursts, which I find to be very effective, as he uses his vocals to add some extra power and emotion near the end of tracks, most noticeably on the title track. Most male vocals, though, are handled by current Kaledon vocalist Michele Guaitoli, who has a smooth but very powerful voice, which can get a bit animated at times. He does a great job at taking lead during many tracks, but he’s at his best when singing in harmony with his co-lead, Alessia Scolletti. Speaking of which, Alessia has a very beautiful, very smooth voice, and while she often stays in the midrange and uses lighter, more pop-like vocals, she can get intense at times, providing some powerful vocals in quick bursts. The choruses are the highlight of the album, though, and during these the two often sing together in harmony, with their voices blending together perfectly and sounding amazing together. While I certainly loved Chiara’s vocals, I think the new approach works just as well, and there are certainly a ton of incredible vocal moments throughout the album, some coming from individual performances, and some coming from more of a team effort.

One area where I had very little concern but a lot of interest, was in the songwriting, which has always been one of the band’s major strengths. While the band has lost one of its main songwriters, their winning streak shows no sign of ending anytime soon, as the songwriting here is as catchy, varied and super addictive as ever. This time around, there aren’t any tracks as ambitious as the two epic-length tracks found on the previous album, but everything is consistently amazing, and if anything the shorter run time and amazing melodies and choruses help to make it an album that is easier to play repeatedly over a long period of time. It’s hard to say which approach I prefer, but either way, the band has pulled a more straight-forward approach off to perfection on this album.

Things get off to an exciting start with the stunning opening track “The Last Hope in a World of Hopes”, a track which manages to feel huge and epic, while clocking in at just under 5 minutes. The increased use of symphonic elements is noticeable right from the start, and soon they’re combined with some epic operatic vocals from the two leads in a sequence that quickly speeds up before Alessia eventually takes lead during an epic opening verse. Michele shows up again just before the chorus, and the track speeds up and goes full power for an epic, super catchy and incredibly melodic chorus, which only gets better as the song goes on. Later on, there’s an epic instrumental section where the guitar tone is absolutely beautiful, and this leads to an even more amazing final run of the chorus, that gets the album off to a flying start. The next track, “Broken Promises” is a bit more restrained at first, settling down to a more relaxing pace, with some very light vocals from Michele, but once the chorus hits it quickly picks up again and the trance elements are very noticeable on this track. The chorus is huge, easily one of the most melodic and most stupidly catchy choruses I’ve heard on a metal album in my entire life, and both singers sound amazing. While Michele leads throughout most of the track, Alessia provides some very powerful near the end of the second verse, that elevates the song to even greater heights, and then the final run through the chorus simply takes it out of this world. Probably my favorite track on the whole album, despite being mid-paced and very simple. Those melodies are simply too irresistible and both singers sound amazing.

In case the album wasn’t already off to an amazing start, the title track is up next, and it certainly keeps the momentum going. It opens with some very nice keys, before quickly speeding up, and the verses do a great job of showcasing both singers, with Alessia leading during a lighter opening verse, while Michele leads a much heavier a more intense second verse. The chorus is again amazing, but the highlight of the track is a huge vocal section near the end, where epic backing vocals are used in support of Marco, who makes his first big appearance and delivers some of the most powerful and emotional vocals I’ve ever heard from him. After that barn burner of a track, the pace slows down a bit on “Everything That I Am”, a more melodic track dominated by keyboards and symphonic elements. While it’s a fairly calm track overall, there’s some excellent guitar work in the second half, and there are some excellent melodies throughout, with both singers again delivering powerful performances, and overall it’s another excellent track. The pace quickly picks up again with “We Are Free”, a more typical sounding Temperance track, with a mix of heavy riffs, symphonic elements, trance keys and huge vocal melodies, and it’s more of a very fast paced track with some power metal elements. The chorus is excellent once again, and overall it’s a very fun and energetic track, which keeps the momentum going.

Moving into the second half, “Alive Again” is another lighter track, mostly driven by trance keys, and it’s sung entirely by Michele, who of course does a great job. It has another great chorus, though the best part is a speedy section in the second half where the music really picks up the intensity. On the flip side of that track is “The Art of Believing”, another speedier, heavier track where Alessia takes lead throughout, with male vocals mostly used in a supporting role. It’s yet another energetic track with a super catchy and memorable chorus, with great riffs and a great use of keys and symphonic elements, though its the middle section where the song really takes off, first with an awesome instrumental section that has more of a hard rock feel to it, and then Alessia delivers some of her most emotional and powerful vocals on the entire album, and the final run through the chorus is incredible, as usual. Next is “The Way Home”, another track dominated by trance keys, though it moves along at a nice pace and has some heavy guitar work at points, definitely feeling like it would have fit nicely on any of the band’s past albums. It again has nice duo vocals throughout, and it picks up the intensity as it goes along, speeding up during the second verse and getting better as it goes along, with an epic solo followed by an epic vocal section in the second half.

Nearing the end, the pace slows down one last time for the lone ballad “Empires of Men”, which is an absolute stunner of a track. The backing keys are gorgeous sounding the track is an example of minimalism at its finest, as there’s not a whole lot going on musically, but what’s there sounds beautiful, and the harmonies between the two lead singers are absolutely stunning and they only get better as the track goes on, with the final run through the chorus being absolutely incredible, and possibly the highlight of the entire album. Lastly, we have the longest track on the album, “Daruma’s Eyes (Part 1)”, another heavy and speedy track, where the keyboards have a creepy feel to them and help add a thick atmosphere to an already intense track, while the guitars provide crushing riffs and wonderful melodies in equal measure, and the symphonic elements are kicked up a notch, to help make it one heck of an epic finale. The chorus is amazing the first few times it shows up, but the final run through is by far the best, as Marco shows up again and ends the album with another absolutely brilliant and powerful performance.

I had very high expectations for Of Jupiter And Moons after its predecessor was one of my top 5 albums of 2016, and once again Temperance has managed to blow me away, producing possibly their best release to date. As always, the music represents modern melodic metal at its absolute finest, with a generous helping of power metal, trance, and symphonic elements, to go along with some incredible vocal melodies, excellent musicianship and extremely consistent and sup catchy songwriting. Even with a largely new lineup, the band is still in perfect form, and this is an album I can easily recommend to fans of any kind of melodic metal, as well as power metal fans or anyone wanting to hear some incredible vocal melodies.

 

Written by: Travis Green

Ratings: 10/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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