LABEL: Napalm Records
RELEASE: October 20th, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings

TEMPERANCE albumrand01. Daruma (feat. Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
A Hero Reborn
Welcome To Hermitage (feat. Fabienne Erni / Laura Fella)
No Return
In Search Of Gold
Join Me (feat. Fabienne Erni / Laura Fella / Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Trust No One But You (feat. Alessandro Conti)
Darkness Is Just A Drawing
Into The Void (feat. Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Brand New Start (feat. Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Where We Belong
Full Of Memories (feat. Arjen Anthony Lucassen)
Cliff (feat. Alessandro Conti / Arjen Anthony Lucassen)

Reading the history of TEMPERANCE provides you with a clear insight into the world of modern melodic and symphonic metal. Like so many of their counterparts, the band has experienced several lineup changes in their decade together, presenting more as a collective in many ways. Their seventh album sees the arrival of professional opera/metal singer and vocal coach Kristin Starkey, who joins the rock operatic society of singer/keyboardist Michele Guaitoli (Visions Of Atlantis) and founder member/singer/guitarist Marco Pastorino (Serenity / Virtual Symmetry / Fallen Sanctuary), bassist and founding member Luca Negro and new drummer Marco Sacchetto.

Hermitage: Daruma’s Eyes Pt. 2 is a fantasy story delivered at breakneck speed. A quick synopsis of the story finds main character Viktor transported into another era when he finds the Japanese doll Daruma. He wakes in Hermitage, a magical village, and the album chronicles his journey. Narrated by Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Starkey takes the role of villain Anningan, one of a pair of siblings whose conflict is dependent on Viktor.

The opening tracks are frantic, galloping guitars and soaring vocals bringing the band’s overall high tempo to the fore. Daruma and Glorious lead to A Hero Reborn, a dramatic and gloriously over the top track that combines all aspects of the band’s style. Now, it’s the dramatics that set this type of concept release apart from others. It’s very much a take it or leave it scenario. At times, this song veers towards a Disney film soundtrack, semi- Eurovision in its pomp, but certainly enjoyable if you indulge in such spectacular imagery.

Other guest musicians add their own elements to the album. As well as Lucassen, Fabienne Erni (Eluveitie, Illumishade) and Laura Fella (Faun) join in the vocals on the folk-tinged “Welcome to Hermitage”, whilst Alessandro Conti (Twilight Force) also joins the party on this musical journey.

TEMPERANCE bandpicHermitageThis is a type of metal that doesn’t hit the palette of all of course. The singalong refrains on “No Return” won’t stir everyone, and if it doesn’t, then I’d expect the off button to be reached for rather quickly. But even if you struggle with some of the twee elements of such sounds, appreciation of the musicianship should be universal. There are melodies galore, harmonies to die for, and some stellar vocals performances to absorb.

At times this is an album that is so over-the-top it’s almost completely unrestrained. The cinematic style is powerful, relentless, fantastical. The narrative on grandiose tracks like “Join Me” links the songs, whilst the composition sees all the vocalists in this band get the chance to show their quality. Underneath all the operatic drama, there beats a solid heavy metal band, and when they get the chance to unload, they go for it in a huge way. If you fancy a bit of power metal then “Trust No One But You” is the song to head for, showcasing Sacchetto’s impressive debut behind the kit. Indeed, his performance is one of the real highlights here.

“Hermitage – Daruma’s Eyes Pt 2” contains some incredible performances. The vocal interplay that weaves its way through “Into the Void” is breathtaking, whilst the band switch tempo several times. “Brand New Start” is a strange one, flicking from galloping passages into an operatic ballad, before shifting into several other levels in quick succession. Even the finale “Cliff” stirs the listener in its triumphant conclusion.

Do you need to immerse yourself in the story to enjoy this album? Probably not, for each track can be enjoyed on its own, although there is a natural flow to the order which makes it an album that works best if listened to from start to finish. It’s not all to my taste, with some of the tracks a little fussy and over layered, but overall, it’s hard not to be impressed with the overall result. The musicianship is simply magnificent, regardless of whether you like the songs. With a polished to the heavens production, TEMPERANCE’S seventh album is something that allows no middle ground. Some have already called it a masterpiece. It’s certainly deserving of applause, and regardless of your taste, appreciation of the investment should be universal.

WEBSITE: https://www.temperanceband.com