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Tempest - The Double-Cross CD (album) cover

THE DOUBLE-CROSS

Tempest

 

Prog Folk

3.92 | 13 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Another storming album from Tempest!

Starting with the great Turn Of The Wheel album (I have not yet heard the band's two first albums), this great Folk Rock band seems to have operated on the every-second-album- principle i.e. they have alternated between making good albums and even better albums. While albums like Turn Of The Wheel, Balance and the present one are more Rock based, the albums released in between these, The Gravel Walk and Shapeshifter, are more focused on the band's pure Folk side. I don't mean to say that all these albums are radically different from each other, they are certainly not. But Turn Of The Wheel, Balance and The Double-Cross are better and more interesting albums, in my opinion; especially so for Prog fans.

With The Double-Cross, Tempest once again turns towards the more hard edged sound found on Balance and it is clear that they stay true to what they do best. This is the Tempest that I like best, anyway. However, even if their different albums emphasise different aspects of the band, all of the albums I mentioned above, including the present one, seem to follow a similar formula and all the Tempest trademarks are here once again; a mix between original and traditional material, a mix between Rock and Folk, etc. Also, we once again get one traditional Scandinavian song sung in Norwegian (Per Spelmann) due to the origin of band leader and multi-instrumentalist Lief Sorbye and also once again the album opens with a song about a notorious pirate. This time it is Captain Kidd, which is the opening number (on Balance the opening number was a song called Captain Ward). All this gives a slight feeling that they are repeating themselves a little bit, but it is certainly a pleasant thing to listen to even if not quite as breathtaking as some earlier efforts.

There are, however, some new and exciting elements on this album too. Bagpipes and didgeridoo makes their first appearance on a Tempest album here which is most notable on Cabar Feidh. But for the most part the sound is, as usual, dominated by fiddle, mandolin, bass, drums and guitars. The electric guitar sound is slightly less to my liking here and there is not such great lead guitar work as could be found on Balance. The keyboards are, as always, played by Robert Barry, but there is very little keyboards on this album - mainly Hammond and never to the front of the sound.

The album closes with a longer track called Wizard's Walk. This is a medley of several pieces and is not very different from the rest of the album even if it moves through several different moods and atmospheres including a Blues improvisation with harmonica!

While this is another strong Tempest album, it is, as I said, not quite up to par with Turn Of The Wheel and Balance. I would recommend going for those two first, but for anyone wanting to venture beyond that point, The Double-Cross is an excellent addition to your collection. It sure was to mine!

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |

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