I’m trying to figure out why people still listen to symphonic power prog in 2016. Ever since some bands released great music in this genre during the 2000s, many others have been trying to imitate them ever since. Temperance look and sound like they could fit well in this category: They are female-fronted and Italian; they play symphonic power metal with progressive influences and recently supported Nightwish on a couple of shows. I don’t even know why I’m bothering to give bands like these a chance. To me, they all sound very similar, if not the same. And as expected, I have very mixed feelings about their brand new release – which is probably the hottest new album in the symphonic power metal world right now.
“The Earth Embraces Us All” has been giving me headaches for quite a while. At first, it didn’t sound like anything worth listening after finishing this review. This album starts to show its true colors only after a couple of listens, though.
To begin with, Temperance are playing with several influences to spice up their distinct power prog sound: You will find electronic and folk metal parts or even jazzy interludes. This shows that Temperance are actually trying to set themselves apart from other bands. Also, this entire mix of different styles and influences will probably please a wide audience ranging from prog to modern metal fans. Even the songwriting itself isn’t bad. If you ever wondered how Amaranthe and Nightwish combined would sound like, check out “At The Edge Of Space”, “Empty Lines” or “Unspoken Words” to find out.
I guess everyone should have noticed by now that I’m struggling to actually focus on anything these guys are doing well. That’s because I can barely stand the vocals on this album. It would probably sound way better with an enjoyable singer. And no, this is not even one of those voices you could get used to after a while, like James LaBrie’s, for instance. It still makes me cringe every time the female singer cranks out some high-pitched vocal. Hell, who told this girl she can sing? The male singer sounds just fine, though.
From all the power prog bands I know, I do grant Temperance their effort to sound authentic and to bring some diversity to such a deadlocked genre. You will have to like or at least don’t mind the vocals to enjoy this album. Finally, “The Earth Embraces Us All” is not a bad release at all, there is just a little bit too much of everything for me to fully enjoy it. (Insert another complaint about the vocals here.)
01. A Thousand Places 06:29
02. At The Edge Of Space 04:28
03. Unspoken Words 04:00
04. Empty Lines 04:26
05. Maschere 03:25
06. Haze 04:20
07. Fragments Of Life 03:44
08. Revolution 04:16
09. Advice From A Caterpillar 08:11
10. Change The Rhyme 04:21
11. The Restless Ride 12:42
Label: Scarlet Records
Here’s my two cents on Symphonic Power Prog bands….. they all sound alike because they all do the same recipe of song writing especially when a woman vocalist is present. It’s the same type of song patterns and guitar tones, the drummer always sounds like he’s gonna break in to Radar Love any second because it’s that same driving beat used ad naseum and the bassists are never really heard in the mix outside of just being the bottom end but are there for show. The male voice generally does the verses and the woman comes in on the first chorus and carries that same madrigal overtone to the very death of the song and has that “tortured soul” Lady of the Lake feel to it. Talented? Absolutely, I can’t hit those notes or play like that, not arguing that point but these bands all do the same thing and sound the same to me. They don’t venture outside the sandbox and try something different or new either vocally or musically. They overdose listening to all their Evanessence and Nightwish records and say hey we can do that only better and end up sounding just like them with different lyrics. It’s too clean and too blueprint structured to have a soul for me to enjoy it. It’s very cliche at times and cut and paste music. Again, I’m not arguing that they are not talented because they are, I’m just saying it’s time that bands like this stop trying to outdo their counterparts with the same recipe and do their OWN thing instead. It’s a pissing contest of sorts where they all try to volley and jockey for pole position and see how long they can keep themselves there.
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I would say that a few are different. Blind Guardian is one of them but they have plenty of prog metal in them which helps. But yes the “female fronted” bands seem to have a formula and follow it at all costs. It’s fine if that’s your bag but if not…
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Agreed that I haven’t heard all the bands in that facet of the genre and I don’t lump them all in to the same boat but just for the ones that I have heard so far fall in to that category for me which is why I always listen to every new band with an open mind because you never know what you will hear. I enjoyed Blind Guardian but never thought of them to be in that section of Symphonic Power Prog bands because they incorporate more dynamics to their music. This is the blessing of reviewers like yourself that bring these bands to the forefront where otherwise we wouldn’t know about a lot of them.
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