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Tempest - Living In Fear CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.24 | 43 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

With Holdsworth and Winter gone, what was to be expected from Tempest's Living In Fear, especially being replaced with only one musician, albeit the good (if not excellent) Olie Halsall (though he and Holdsworth did play a few months in parallel in the band. But as good a musician as Halsall is, you can feel all of the weight is on his shoulder, him the newcomer, and he's more or less handed the keys of the truck, the guitars and the microphone as well as writing 5 of the 8 tracks on the album, bassist Clarke handling three more. Whatever lyrics are from Hisemlan The Man. And Halsall being like Holdsworth of jazz roots, once he gets into Tempest, it's one of the least jazzy album's he's played upon, proof that this was Hiseman pushing them to write always rockier tracks. Recorded just a year after the debut, LIF sports a close-up of the Gorgon Celtic sorceress, but it doesn't sound much like its predecessor: all Colosseum parenting musical ideas are completely avoided.

Soooooo, as Halsall was in, you'd have expected the album to go back to jazz-rock realm, but it is actually the opposite happens! Leader John Hiseman is clearly on a mission and here, he's close to denying his old jazz tricks and treats, as we head in straight (hard) rock. You could still hear the old Colosseum in Tempest's debut, but here, there is almost nothing to remind you of it, as Halsall's tracks are average (at best) and Clarke's three tracks (sung by him) are little more than misses or fillers. Passing quickly over the Beatles' cover (not convincing), Clarke's Stargazer might have gone somewhere had there been more thoughts and ideas put into it. His other two tracks are the two longer ones on the album, and the almost-8-mins Dance To My Tune has a weird synth and bass duo that could've developed well had the group been more than a trio and later the guitar solo is correct. Probably the album's better track as the 6-mins hard-rocking Turn Around gets drowned in the mass of the album, in spite of a little more solo space. Both opening track on each side of the album are Halsall's, and they are questionable choices as they are short (actually, that's good in this case), almost brutal and way too conventional to arouse the proghead's interest. Clarke also sings Waiting For Miracles, but it's certainly not inspired, no matter how much Queen-like (non-Scaramouchka) chorus you want to include.

Tempest is certainly not Hiseman's glory hour, to say the least, and if both Tempest album are still nothing worth writing about, they haven't aged too disgracefully, either: they don't sound dated, but even then I doubt you'll really spin any of their two albums, this one even less than its predecessor.

Sean Trane | 2/5 |


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