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Tempest - Shapeshifter CD (album) cover

SHAPESHIFTER

Tempest

 

Prog Folk

3.14 | 10 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Not really shifting shapes too much!

Shapeshifter is yet another good Tempest album, but I feel that they are playing it rather safe here. All the songs are good, but they don't manage to say anything that they had not already said on their previous albums. Further, the progressive elements that were so clearly present on albums like Turn Of the Wheel and Balance tend to take the backseat on this album in favour of a more classic British Folk Rock approach very much in line with Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. They once again, like on The Gravel Walk album, lean heavily on traditional material (about 50/50). Tempest still rocks here, but they have lost some of the hard edge of the Balance album.

In one sense they certainly do shift shape here; they have a new line-up once again. But the presence of Norwegian-born multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Lief Sorbye is what carries the Tempest sound. He is really a very talented singer and song writer. Sue Draheim takes over the position as fiddler on this album and she also provides backing vocals to many songs. This only strengthens the Steeleye Span similarities even more. It is actually rather remarkable that Tempest, a band that has existed only since the late 80's, can sound as confident and "classic" as Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span that had been around since the 60's or early 70's.

One thing that made the previous Balance album so good was the presence of a couple of great instrumental pieces. While there are some nice instrumental work here too, there is nothing on par with Dance Of The Sand Witches or Battle Mountain Breakdown from the previous album. The band trademark to include one traditional Scandinavian Folk number sung in Norwegian is not broken, this time it is a number called Fjellmannjenta.

While Shapeshifter is definitely a good album, I would not recommend this album to start with. Turn Of the Wheel and Balance are better places to start investigating this great band.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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