Tempest - Balance

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Magna Carta
Catalog Number: MAX9053-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:47:00

Tempest (clockwise from top-left: Evans, Sorbye, Lazo, Hurley, and Maxwell)Fans of Jethro Tull will be delighted to hear there is a brand new album by Tempest filled as always with loads of Celtic elements, yet with a drive that is so reminiscent of all Magna Carta artists. In the last twelve years this Californian band has released nine CDs and played well over 1000 gigs (that's one thousand to you!) to critical acclaim all over the world.

Fronted by a Norwegian singer, who also plays a double-necked mandolin, and a Cuban drummer, Tempest fuses Irish and Scottish influences together with a Skandiniavian approach topped by American professionalism. Take the great jig "Dancing Girl" with some outstanding violin to boost. Trying to keep the balance between folk and traditional rock'n roll, Balance is indeed the ideal title for the band's new album with the instrumental "Dance Of The Sand Witches" an ideal example of how the Tempest music really sounds like. Just listen to that wonderful guitar here which blends together with violin and the driving force of the drums. Pure witchcraft with even a dash of Arabian atmosphere thrown in for good measure!

The intro and feel of "Iron Lady" in a way could also be vintage Rush but then singer Leif Sorbye rubs shoulders with Ian Anderson and we're back to square one. There's also a nice "balance" where traditionals are concerned, as this album contains one Irish ("Two Sisters"), one Scottish ("Captain Ward") and one Norwegian ("Villemann") traditional. The album is produced by Robert Berry with whom Leif already collaborated on the Jethro Tull tribute album To Cry You A Song where Leif accompanied Robert on bodhran during his rendition of "Minstrel In The Gallery". Robert returned the favour during the Tempest version of "Locomotive Breath" were he played keyboards. [Berry also produced and played on Tempest's Turn Of The Wheel (1996) and The Gravel Walk (1997) - ed.] So the band and Berry go a long way which smoothens the situation in the recording booth giving way to a nice album.

"Old Man Flint" is a fierce jig with all the right ingredients to really please a demanding audience, but my favourite certainly has to be the stomping, fast "Battle Mountain Breakdown" which sounds more like Malmsteen meets Rhapsody than anything folky I've heard in my life. The album closes with the folk fireworks of "Royal Oak," another great example of how well the violin works within the enjoyable music of Tempest.

I wouldn't say Balance is the absolute best Tempest album ever as this wouldn't be fair to the other great music they have released but I can say that by working together with Robert Berry and by putting everything into perspective the band has come up with an album which will certainly do very well and will introduce new fans to their incredible music. Sad that so many of their older titles are OOP. Maybe Magna Carta will one day re-release these little gems so they can be placed next to their big brother Balance.

Captain Ward (3:34) / Dancing Girl (3:50) / Dance Of The Sand Witches (4:19) / Iron Lady (4:39) / Two Sisters (5:26) / Wicked Spring (3:49) / Old Man Flint (3:28) / Villemann (4:35) / Battle Mountain Breakdown (2:53) / The Journeyman (5:35) / Between Us (4:22) / Royal Oak (4:00)

Lief Sorbye - lead vocals, acoustic and electric mandolins and octave mandolas, harmonica, bodhran
Adolfo Lazo - drums
Todd Evans - electric and acoustic guitars, harmony vocals
William Maxwell - fretless and fretted basses, bass pedals, keyboards
Jim 'Hurricane' Hurley - fiddle


Robert Berry - B3 Hammond organ, synthesizer, harmony vocals

Springdans (1987) (Lief Sorbye)
Bootleg (1991)
Serrated Edge (1992)
Sunken Treasures (1993)
Surfing to Mecca (1994)
Across The Borders (1994) (Sorbye)
Turn of the Wheel (1996)
To Cry You A Song - A Tribute To Jethro Tull (1996) (contrib. one track)
The Gravel Walk (1997)
Caliban (1998) (Sorbye & Michael Mullins)
10th Anniversary (1998)
1999 Live at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (1999) (only available through Tempest)
Balance (2001)
Shapeshifter (2003)
15th Anniversary Collection (2004)
The Double Cross (2006)
Lief's Birthday Bash (2007)
Prime Cuts (2008
Another Dawn (2010)

Live At Karfluki Fest 2006 (DVD) (2006)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: April 10th 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.tempestmusic.com
Hits: 707
Language: english


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