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Sean Trane
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.

Report this review (#32402)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Eager to please

With the major changes in the band between their first album and this one, their style also changed radically from a jazz rock orientated band to straight forward rock. Although Hiseman and Clarke remain from the first album, it's the late Ollie Halsall who dominates things.

"Dance to my tune" is the most prog track here, with some good guitar and fine synthesiser. The Beatles "Paperback writer" gets a real dusting down, becoming a heavy rock track, while "Stargazer" is a highly melodic Mark Clarke piece. Incidentally "Stargazer" was covered superbly by Clarke's brief Uriah Heep band-mate Ken Hensley on his "Eager to please" album, with a wonderful brass section ending.

There are at times hints of Free/Bad Company on the album, but little to link back to Colosseum. "Living in fear" benefits greatly from the multi-talented Halsall's instrumental work. Had they persisted, Tempest may well have gone on to find success. The market was however rather saturated with the style of music they chose to adopt for this album, hence such success would not by any means have been guaranteed.

Had the songs been generally a bit stronger, this could have been a much better album.

Report this review (#32403)
Posted Friday, September 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Replacing Allan Holdsworth was a major problem to Tempest. Ollie Halsall was a great guitar player, but Holdsworth is brilliant. So Tempest lost a bit of technique, feeling and creative power when Holdsworth left the band, which makes this album inferior to the first. However, on vocals, Halsall is a better choice than Paul Williams, which also left the band after the first release. Although reduced to a power trio, Tempest was still a fine band and this album, although less adventurous, still has enough good moments to recommend it, like "Funeral Empire", "Dance to my Tune" (the most ambitious track), the simple and funny "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" and "Stargazer" (later rerecorded by Ken Hensley at his solo album, "Eager to Please" - Mark Clarke played bass). To prog-rock fans, the first album will sound better, but this is also a worthy addition to hard rock fans's collections.
Report this review (#42581)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Second album of TEMPEST released in 1974 "Living In Fear". Allan Holdsworth and Paul Williams left the band. However, expert Ollie Halsall who equals Allan Holdsworth joins and it becomes a trio organization. The sound is hard rock including a kooky rhythm and technical play. It is a performance which is frightening it is so good. It is a work that the speed and the heavy feeling have been very enhanced in the whole volume.
Report this review (#55774)
Posted Thursday, November 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Tempest is a 70's power rock trio.I know very little about them except for the fact that famous guitar player Alan Holdsworth played on their self-titled debut album. Living In Fear is their amazing second album.

SIDE ONE starts of with the hard rocking "Funeral Empire" which sounds pretty much like Scandinavian 90's band The Hellacopters. The beauty of this song can't be said in plain words and the track is rather original. "Paperback Writer" is a herd-edged and faster version of the famous Beatles single.It's very similar to the original.The imitation of the vocal intro is well-done. Tempest added some heavy guitar solos. "Stargazer"'s got some soulful vocals on it, again written and sung very originally.The wonderful leading riff reminds me of the mood of Led Zeppelins "Trampled Under Foot" ( Physical Graffiti,1975).This track's got a nicely haunting bridge and a series of bluesy solos. "Dance To My Tune" closes the first side.It's a hardrock song with a very interesting middle section which becomes quite quiet and builds up majestically and eruptively up towards the end. This is the longest song of the album (nearly 8 minutes). SIDE TWO: "Living In Fear" is a blues song of a melodic masterclass.The chorus is fantastic and beautifully piano-driven. "Yeah Yeah Yeah" begins with a short smashing drum intro and is again melodically a verys trong song with Beatle-like vocal harmonies.The use of the double bass drum is highly effective. "Waiting For A Miracle" has got a magical multiple acoustic guitar solo.The verses sound like 60's psychedelic rock with some keyboard parts between the lines and in the closing section.Incredible stuff! "Turn Around" begins with lots of odd (cello-like) guitar effects and turns out to be a pretty complex and heavy song.Between the vocal parts we can hear a couple of unbelievable guitar fillings.

Tempest consists of three highly skilled musicians. Living In Fear is a supreme selection of catchy songs. Tempest knows what good entertaining rock is. Structure,melody and style fusions are their fields of excellence.It's difficult to put this band in a certain category as they combine blues, a bit of jazz, (hard)rock, 60's pop and psychedelic rock with progrock. 'Turn Around' are the final words of the record and that's exactly what you'll do.You will turn the LP around (back to side one) and you'll listen to it over and over again.

Report this review (#62582)
Posted Saturday, December 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars After a promising yet unspectacular debut, Living In Fear, the second album from Tempest saw major changes in the line-up leaving only drummer Jon Hiseman and bassist Mark Clarke from that incarnation. Allan Holdsworth had jumped ship for Soft Machine, who he would also only stay with for one album and Vocalist Paul William's fear of flying had cost him his place in the band. One man was to replace them both, Ollie Halsall, formerly of sixties psych pop band Timebox who were to transform into the more progressive Patto.

Living In Fear was a further step away from Hiseman and Clarke's former band Colosseum than even the debut was, ditching any traces of jazz and opting for a more streamlined rock direction. Halsall was an absurdly talented guitarist and he gets his moments to shine but fails to live up to William's rich tones in the vocal department. Despite the occasional inspired moment like Dance To My Tune featuring some cracking guitar work from Halsall the album smacks of the ordinary including a limp version of The Beatles Paperback Writer which suffers big time in the vocal department in particular.

It's certainly not a bad album, just lacking the song writing spark to lift it above the mere ordinary. Worth hearing though on the strength of the fine musicians involved but if you want to hear Halsall at his most inspired I'd recommend you go and check out the first two Patto albums. 2 stars.

Report this review (#529484)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Tempest - Living in Fear (1974)

Tempest was an English heavy progrock outfit of the mid-seventies, nowadays primarily known for the presence of the then soon to be fusion-icon Allan Holdsworth on the debut-album. This second album has endured some serious criticisms, most of which I myself find uneasy to comprehend.

Tempest is a trio founded by ex-Colosseum (and ex John Mayal & The Bluesbrakers) drummer Jon Hiseman. A very talented musician indeed. Guitarist Ollie Halsall (Mike Patto, Kevin Ayers) is nothing short of amazing in skill and his playing is simply glorious throughout, blending jazz-rock and accurate heavy rock. Halsall also plays various keyboard on the album, adding to the progressive textures of the music. Moreover, Halsall proves to be a very exciting and gifted vocalist! Mark Clark (Colosseum, Uriah Heep) is a great groovy & melodic bass-player.

The songs have rock 'n roll, heavy rock, art-rock and jazz-rock influences. The band has an intense feel and well performed vocals that give the music an extra push. Within the song Tempest manages to integrated progressive elements (rhythms, chords-changes, original harmonies) without loosing that fine rockin' atmosphere. During some extended solo-sections the band freely shows how brilliant it can play, with the guitars of Halsall being especially exciting. Some have criticized the album for not having songs that 'really work', but I really find most of these tracks very catchy and uplifting.

Conclusion. Like most early heavy progressive rock groups Tempest must have been unable to find its audiance, being to progressive for rockers and to straightforward for symphonic prog listeneres. But if you like heavy prog like May Blitz and Captain Beyond this will surely please your ears. Fans of Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy (because of the melodic bass) and Colosseum might also want to give this album a try. Five stars for this one, a forgotten gem for sure.

Report this review (#1369753)
Posted Tuesday, February 17, 2015 | Review Permalink

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