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Temple Of Switches - Four CD (album) cover


Temple Of Switches

Crossover Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Along comes the opportunity to chart new musical discoveries, accepting to listen intently and review something completely unfamiliar, when asked nicely by an artist looking for some much-needed exposure. Tenk Van Dool is a fine Dutch name but works out of the USA, as a mainly a two-man show, as Tenk skillfully handles a rather superb and reptilian bass, as well adorning powerful keyboards, guitars and vocals, while drummer David White completes the roster. The music is punchy, crisp, somber, thoughtful, brash and rebellious. This is their fourth album and quite the revelation I must say, as anything led by a nasty bass is often cause for some intense celebration. What also strikes me upon my initial go through, is that the material is quite original in that no apparent or overt influence jumps to the fore, occasionally heavy, suddenly jazzy, often dissonant, never boring or trite, constantly adventurous.

The album kicks off with brash guitars, electro keys and a solid drumbeat, until a ferocious bass furrow shoves it into overdrive, phosphorescent sparks flying, smoke billowing on the water, gently floating over the waves, before returning to the sonic madness. You are welcome, indeed. This leads next into another pile driver, the sardonic "Your Fly is Down", as both bass and guitars bruise the senses, insistent keys and marshaling drums complete the onslaught! A slick jazzy upturn catapults this into another realm, very catchy and way too short! More please? On "The Wind", a wobbly bass intro introduces the amazing voice of Amanda Lehmann (whose recent solo album was a definite ear-opener), a reflective yet quirky piece of melodramatic progressive rock, painted with strokes of gusty dissonance and breezy atmospherics, and a chorus that veers towards neo-gothic bombast. Very tasty indeed.

The tablas driven atmospherics on "Pareidolia" evoke images of 'Taj Mahalian' proportions, the bass carving a slow- paced space-rock ride that hanker back to Gong, Ozrics and company. Incense and curry, contemplation, and karma. Again, a very cool instrumental with loads of synths and effects. And now, for something completely different, a reworked and upgraded drum solo, Tenk quivers away on the electric guitar while drummer White evokes his inner Pierre van der Linden (of Focus fame), both sounding like that famous Dutch legend on exalted steroids. Fun, fast, slippery, and just plain brilliant. The bass, here played by guest Dale Wiser, is quite simply jaw dropping. "Human Zoo" is a more traditional pop-rock tune, focusing heavily on the sarcastic lyrics that try to settle a score with the human condition. Very well played instrumentally melodic yet acerbic lyrically, just the right dose of spit and venom, a slick guitar solo closes the enclosure's gates. That darn bass fretless bass announces the next vignette,"Llamada a San Cristobal" , a jazzier foray that cajoles and caresses with a wide variety of sounds emanating from the keys and guitars, everything swerving, veering and spinning in a near Canterbury fashion.

The epic "The Unfurling" stretches out over 10 minutes, flexing musical muscle and creative juice and displaying complex subtleties that will keep your ears on edge. The superlative playing is over the top genius, as the band shows an uncanny ability to keep things fascinatingly unpredictable whilst remaining utterly enjoyable, distributing abundant contrasts between shade and shine, tossing jolly frills along the way, such as the surprising piano section that really grabbed my attention. The uncoiling mood is soft one moment and jarring the next, distorted but very strategic, a clear sign of thoughtful dramatis.

Pounding returns on the effusive and belligerent rocker "Freeway", a driving song that I historically often dislike with very few exceptions. Its just not an inspiration for me as 'I'm in Love with my Car' 'Highway to Hell', 'Radar Love' or even 'Born to Be Wild' do not really shake my tree. That being said, the well-oiled bass and revving guitars are ridiculously tasty and chunky. Another bopping rocker, the sneering "Go Champion" sounds like T-Rex on speed, more gothic glam that anything heard recently, a somber vocal part notwithstanding. Fine companion to that other regal "Champion" song, I guess. The finale hits the spot on "Lemongrass and Thyme", a pastoral ditty with acoustic guitar in tow, reverberating keys, drowsy beat and a forlorn piano, with shrouded vocals dripping in whispered melancholia. The stinging electric guitar solo is like Larry Carlton homage.

A very entertaining entry, which I will surely revisit (next long road trip, LOL) as well as a band I intend to discover more releases past and future. Well done.

4 Sanctuaries of Turns

Report this review (#2694048)
Posted Sunday, February 20, 2022 | Review Permalink
4 stars TEMPLE OF SWITCHES debuted in 2012 breaking down musical barriers by delivering dark, contemplative, dissonant, unrestrained, variegated alternative rock; brief avant-garde where jazzy and melancholy touches are added; founded by Tenk VAN DOOL and helped by drummer David WHITE of the group RATTLEFACE, they released this 4th opus with bluffing atonal sounds which must be ignored at the start. A progressive cinematic album where the eccentric is in order, where the classic mixes with the pure progressive of the 70's.

'Welcome' as an instrumental preamble title, rock with latent electronic components, its own from the start reminiscent of the Focus. 'Your Fly is Down' vocal Nick Cave or Rik Ocasek or David Bowie, electro new wave a tad offbeat, bucolic and psychedelic synth variation, strange, the bass prints a strong base. 'The Wind' operates a 180° musical shift with a clean air, Amanda Lehmann flirting with her borderline voice Marianne Faithfull; vibrant and subdued atmosphere on a spleen of sirens, the majestic organ adding a layer, sublime. 'Pareidolia' delves even further with this Arabicizing, eclectic and psychedelic Dead Can Dance instrumental; a bit of the Doors vibe in a trance with this monolithic reverb. Captivating and hypnotic, clear and filled with wisdom. 'Dale's Neglected Song' on a drum solo starting on a psychedelic The Cure; a bit of Focus, a master drumstick-drummed vintage rhythm by David for a trip down memory lane. 'Human Zoo' spins 90 degrees and goes to Crimsonian lands all to a high voice that amplifies instrumental dramatic grandeur; a title that surprises in a singular register with a final Genesis or Hackettian solo, it's up to you to see.

'Llamada a San Cristobal (Chepo's song)' on a Yessian declination for the bass and Genesis for the keyboards, the latent side and the flute, a beautiful bucolic Canterburyan instrumental exercise before moving on to 'the Unfurling' for the piece, thundering moment with delicate primary breaks, variegated tempo flirting on jazz with piano and its dark Crimsonian debauchery; uncompromising art rock with back and forth from the 70s to the recent 90s, an inexplicable title, surely one of the most beautiful progressive pieces of the decade with a contemplative final decrescendo. 'Freeway' denotes, heavy rock title of the 70's on the line of Blue Oyster Cult, always with a dissonant voice. 'Go Champion' drives the nail, the first Alice Cooper or T-Rex, on the glam in fact. 'Lemongrass and Thyme' for the finale on a singular bucolic variation, a mixture of Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash for the phrasing; it's still confusing, intimate and melancholy yet enjoyable and vibrant; necessary to rest his ears from this uncompromising musical niche.

A bucolic album with mud, light rain, showers of petals, an eclectic album mixing various genres, simmered to get out of quirky and crazy retro prog but full of sensitivity, spleen, new musical sense. TEMPLE OF SWITCHES just did that dexterously; an album to listen to differently.

Report this review (#2743470)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2022 | Review Permalink
PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars Another multi-varianted 2022 album, some fresh produce coming in from Tenk Van Dool. Okay, plus a few friends in music, needless to say, everything covered under the moniker TEMPLE OF SWITCHES again. A mixed bag, 'Four' appears rich on impressions, surprises, turns, edges. Hereby offering a real crossover of music styles, a great mix of atmospheric moody things and heavier occasions, also equipped with a touch of weirdness on top of it. And so, sooner or later, one is practically urged to find out more about the individual pieces of music. Very useful then, if you will have the accompanying PDF file at hand that is offering the particular lyrics, as well as some rather enlightening comments offered by the mastermind himself.

There is another regular contributor to consider here, not to forget. I mean drummer David White of course, who already has produced music with Tenk Van Dool in the past in one way or another. He intensively was involved in the songwriting process too. The songs are made of new material, but this is also drawing on inspirations, even recorded portions from the past in the same way. Now please, let's say welcome to the album due to the eponymously named short instrumental track that already evolves with an unpredictable flow. Showcasing the lovely Amanda Lehmann contributing the vocals for The Wind this appears in a proper Cary Grace mood, I would say. Fretless bass and nice organ are properly underlaying this charming matter. Paredolia then joins nearly in the same mood with a strong ambient, psychedelic and indo/raga feel.

To whom it may concern ... Dale's Neglected Song finally has reached for a renewal. A bit Rush infected this is culled from former recordings back in the late Eighties, when Tenk Van Dool, David White, and Dale Wiser (bass) intensively worked together. Towards the end it also shows some impressions from the original extended drum solo. Quite a lot of instruments are used for the suite The Unfurling. This may be acclaimed as the album's masterpiece by many. Certainly a challenge, especially from the compositorial point of view. This album offers an entertaining song collection. During more than 50 minutes playing time there's plenty to discover, that's guaranteed.

Report this review (#2773077)
Posted Monday, June 27, 2022 | Review Permalink

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