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Tempus Fugit - Chessboard CD (album) cover

CHESSBOARD

Tempus Fugit

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 59 ratings

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kenethlevine
Special Collaborator
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While the symphonic meets neo sound of TEMPUS FUGIT remains largely intact over 10 years after their 1997 debut, several significant alterations can be discerned. It's clearly not a group that wants to sit still, but at the same time they seem to have a consistent vision of the influence they wish to exert on the progressive scene.

Bassist André Ribeiro adds a new dimension, crooning expressive lines like a sultry sax player in a mildly jazzy Camel style. Vocalist André Mello has become more confident, and while he'll not ever be a PETER GABRIEL or a PETER HAMMILL, I would argue that the group would suffer under such a powerful singer, and Mello's voice is more simpatico with the group's wistful and mellow orientation. Perhaps because of his improvement, this is a more vocal oriented album, with 5 of the 8 tracks containing sung parts - this is achieved without dulling the band's instrumental sheen in the slightest and without resorting to conventional song structures. The other change I note is an ever so slightly more aggressive edge , nothing to convert metal fanatics or scare away us peaceniks, but more in the manner of several groups that rose to prominence in the earlier part of the 2000s, chiefly CLEPSYDRA and SATELLITE. The vocal parts tend to be more mellow, but not exclusively

All the tracks here are very good, with perhaps the best being in the middle. "Unfair World" shifts from a languid symphonic ballad to more of a neo progger with ease. "Only to be with You's opening 3 minutes may well be the highlight of the album especially if you can't get enough early instrumental CAMEL, while the rest is more vocal oriented in the vein of early SEBASTIEN HARDIE. Then there is the fairy tale like purity of "The Princess", TEMPUS FUGIT's nearest approximation to a hit, and it would be deserving. The second part of the track is a masterful lead guitar led work that positions Henrique Simões somewhere on the path to MIREK GIL via JOHN LEES. Heaven!

The closing and title tracks are also strong, perhaps only slightly less riveting even though I hear some tribute to fellow romantic Brazilians SAGRADO and 14 BIS in Mello's crooning on the closer, as well as some surprisingly dramatic vocal passages toward the end, that recall early GENESIS and KYRIE ELEISON.

I know that TEMPUS FUGIT are going places with their sound, and would like to think the same for their recognition but I know better. Their moves may not result in a commercial windfall, but I also see little danger of a stalemate.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |

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