Released By: Napalm Records
Release Date: January 24th, 2020
Genre: Melodic Metal
Alessia Scolletti – Vocals
Michele Guaitoli – Vocals, Piano
Marco Pastorino – Vocals, Guitars
Luca Negro – Bass
Alfonso Mocerino – Drums
1. Mission Impossible
2. I Am the Fire
3. Start Another Round
4. My Demon’s Can’t Sleep
6. Let It Beat
7. Scent of Dye
8. The Cult of Mystery
11. Catch the Dream
For the past six years, one thing I’ve always been able to count on is Italian melodic metal band Temperance delivering an excellent album. I’ve been a fan since the release of their debut, back in 2014, and subsequent releases such as The Earth Embraces Us All and Of Jupiter and Moons have only blown me away more and more. At this point, the band has become one of my all-time favorites, and so every time I hear they’re releasing a new album, I heavily anticipate getting to hear it for the first time. Their sixth full-length release, Viridian, has just recently been released, and as expected, it’s yet another excellent modern melodic metal release, with plenty of addictive, super-catchy choruses, awesome vocal melodies and tons of high-speed power metal.
The most impressive thing about the band’s previous release was that they had gone through the biggest lineup change of their career, so far, losing two of their most important members, yet they managed to not only avoid a letdown but somehow managed to release quite possibly their best release to date. With the same lineup from that release being back for Viridian, I was excited to see what they would do next, and whether or not they could find a way to up the ante once again.
It turns out, they haven’t quite pulled it off this time, though Viridian is still an excellent release, as always. I’ve always compared the band to the likes of Amaranthe and the past three Dynazty albums, but on past albums I found their music to always be more complex, more unique and overall more memorable, compared to any of their competition. With Viridian, it feels like the band has simplified things further than ever before, focusing entirely on the catchiness, vocal harmonies, and melodic hooks, and while they’ve certainly pulled all of that off as well as ever, it does feel like the songwriting creativity has taken a slight hit, falling more closely in line with similar bands, instead of surpassing them, as usual.
For the most part, the album is stylistically similar to past releases, being a mix of modern melodic metal, plenty of speedy power metal, some trance elements, some alternative riffs, and lots of modern-sounding keyboards all over the place. The songwriting, though, feels like it’s been stripped down to the absolute basics, which has led to a surprisingly straight-forward album, compared to their past two releases, in particular, which showed the band fully evolving their sound. In particular, the symphonic elements feel like they’ve been dialed back a great deal, not feeling overly prominent aside from on a couple of tracks, while the trance-like keyboards have become more prominent and noticeable than ever before. All of this works well, and performances are excellent across the board, with the three vocalists Alessia Scolletti, Michele Guaitoli, and Marco Pasterino all excelling, while the instrumental work is all excellent, as always, and the production is perfect, as always. However, everything just feels a bit more ordinary, compared to past albums, and while there are some amazing songs here, as always, the album overall seems to be missing the sort of special spark past albums had.
While Viridian doesn’t quite live up to past releases, it still has plenty of excellent tracks, as usual. The album kicks off with the lead single “Mission Impossible”, a track which nicely illustrates what to expect from the album on the whole. It’s a fairly mid-paced track, with some pretty heavy, modern-sounding riffs, as well as plenty of fun trance keys, entertaining verses and a huge, super catchy chorus, where the two main vocalists Scolletti and Guaitoli get to shine. It’s an excellent, very fun track, but it’s not quite as memorable or special as any of the opening tracks on past albums. Next is “I Am the Fire”, a faster-paced track, which feels much closer to classic Euro power metal than most of their other songs. It’s another very fun track, with excellent alternating vocals, some nice melodic guitar work, and some nice keys, which are largely relegated to the background. The chorus is fun, but fairly understated by Temperance standards, and overall it’s an excellent track, with Pasterino’s brief, intense vocal lines towards the end of the track being the clear highlight.
Another very fun and simple track are ‘Start Another Round”, which feels particularly close to Amaranthe, with tons of modern keyboards all over the place, chugging riffs, and one of the catchiest, most addictive choruses of the year so far. It’s another track which makes great use of the two lead vocalists, and while it is very straight-forward, it manages to keep me engaged and thoroughly entertained throughout, so I’d say it does its job well. Next is the second single “My Demon’s Can’t Sleep”, where the band steps up their game to deliver one of their absolute best tracks to date! It’s another quite fast-paced track, which alternates nicely between the two lead vocalists throughout, especially during the chorus, which is absolutely fantastic, intense, melodic and extremely catchy, with some incredible vocal melodies. The highlight of the track, though, is again some very brief, but very powerful vocals from Pasterino in the second half, though the music is awesome throughout, and the instrumental section in the second half is quite heavy, yet very melodic and feels like one of the best instrumental sections on the album.
The momentum keeps up with the title track, another fast-paced, heavily keyboard driven track, with some particularly explosive verses, again with some great alternating vocals, and the chorus is fairly simple but quite effective and catchy. The track makes more use of symphonic elements compared to most tracks on the album, which helps give it more of an epic feel, and that works perfectly. Perhaps the catchiest track of all is “Let It Beat”, a very light and melodic keyboard-driven track, which moves at a nice pace, without ever fully speeding up. It’s a very upbeat track, with an incredible chorus, which features some of the band’s absolute best vocal melodies, and that sure is saying a lot! It’s a very catchy, highly engaging track, and it only gets better as it goes along, with Scolletti’s performance on the final run of the chorus being especially stunning. Next is “Scent of Dye”, the first of two ballads on the album. It has some very nice keyboard melodies, and has an epic feel to it, as well as some awesome vocal harmonies, as always, and its chorus is very beautiful, and another clear highlight. It doesn’t quite reach the level of some ballads I’ve heard in recent years, but it’s an excellent track, with particularly strong vocals and lyrics, as well as a very nice guitar solo in the second half, while the final run through the chorus features some stunning vocals from Pasterino.
Speeding things up, once again, “Cult of Mystery” is one of the fastest, most guitar-driven tracks on the album, with some very heavy guitar work, and some very fun verses. The chorus is solid, but a bit repetitive for my tastes, and the track overall is a lot of fun, with an especially nice melodic guitar solo in the second half, but it never really reaches the heights the band is capable of, while the main keyboard hook is one of the rare times where I find they overdo it, if only slightly. The longest track on the album is “Nanook”, which clocks in at just under 6 minutes. While it’s not one of the band’s longest or most complex tracks ever, it still has quite a lot going on, being largely a speedy power metal track, with some heavy riffs, awesome vocal harmonies and an excellent use of symphonic elements, as well as having some folk melodies and an overall folk feeling to it. The chorus is stunning, and the folk elements are a nice touch, to help it stand out from the pack, while the instrumental section is very epic and well done. It’s one of the best on the album.
Sadly, the album fizzles out a bit at the end, with the final two tracks being clearly the weakest. The last full-length song is “Gaia”, the second ballad of the album, and while it’s a nice track with some very good piano work and very light guitar melodies, it never reaches the heights of some of the band’s best work and ends up feeling a bit underwhelming. The lyrics are very nice, and the vocals are fantastic, as always, but the song itself just feels like it’s missing something, to take it to the next level. Closing out the album is “Catch the Dream”, and while I had previously thought it was just about impossible for Temperance to make a track I dislike, it has finally happened, unfortunately. The track is A Capella, with the tune provided completely by vocals and clapping. It starts fine enough, but not particularly great, and once the echoing vocals start to kick in, it gets to be pretty annoying. As the track goes on, it only intensifies further, to the point where I always start getting a headache by the end, due to how noisy and how extremely repetitive it is. As much as I love Temperance, I certainly can’t understand why they’d choose to end an album this way, as I find it pretty much completely unlistenable, and I suspect it shall forever be known as by far the worst track they’ve ever released.
Overall, I find Viridian to be a slight disappointment, as it ends the band’s trend of getting better with each release, and instead ends up falling a bit short, but it’s still yet another great release, with plenty of extremely catchy choruses, great instrumental work and some truly outstanding vocals and vocal melodies, as always. Longtime fans of the band should be pleased with it, and while I’d recommend looking into any of their previous releases first, it would still be a solid starting point for any melodic metal fans or power metal fans, looking for a great album with some awesome vocal performances. Despite not living up to the band’s previous works, it’s still likely to be one of the best melodic metal albums released in 2020, for sure, and I hope the band can blow me away again, on future releases.
Written by: Travis Green
My Global Mind – Staff Writer
Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.