Tempus Fusion’s music is big and bold; it’s progressive metal with an emphasis on power. Production is grand and polished, instruments are used to fill space with imagination and force and the vocals create big chorus harmonies. It’s progressive metal from this side of the pond, and we Brits do things a little differently: there are strong production values, sure, but there’s also an inherent grittiness. As a nation we have expansive, open spaces where the spirit can soar, but there’s also an industrial heritage and sometimes it seems like the drop forges never quite all disappeared, but carried on in secret, turning out metal of the musical variety.
Tempus Fusion knows how to write a riff and how to hold a melody. The guitars ring out when required, but they’re not afraid to throw in a few curve balls if that’s what the song wants: ‘The Baying Of The Wolf’, for example, uses a riff built on an arpeggio. It’s effective and a little bit out of the ordinary. Ever since Andy Summers started to take apart chords in the late ‘70s (different genre, I know, but the principle is a universal one) it’s always been an option – albeit a somewhat underused one, and it’s a technique that offers something else again to the usual chord theme, muted or otherwise. Not just a solid wall of chords for Tempus Fusion (although they can do that very well indeed), they throw things into the mix that keep the album fresh and engaging throughout. Think of the solo in ‘This Automated Nightmare’ that uses multiple key changes to chart a musical course the listener will be intrigued to follow.
There is strong song writing on display in melody, arrangement and dynamics. While it’s undeniably a heavy album, the intensity of sound does get dialled back a bit when the arrangement demands it. And talking of melody, it’s kept uppermost in the band’s must-do list; a band that prioritises melody will always have a much brighter future and greater longevity than a band for which it is a weakness. Every listener needs a hook to grab onto and Tempus Fusion delivers these through instrumental lines and grand vocal harmonies. Whether it’s the plaintive, paean-like guitar on ‘Abandon All Hope’, or the beguiling, fascinating chorus of ‘The Baying Of The Wolf’, it’s melody that is the order of the day.
Formed in 2009 by guitarist Tim Goatham, Hampshire-based Tempus Fusion is still a relatively new band, but one that has quickly found its feet and established its musical credentials, assisted no doubt by the inclusion of members of Season’s End.
The UK has for so long been the birthplace of much good music and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue. In Tempus Fusion we have a band with the potential to mix it with the best of them, so do yourself a favour and give “To End It All” some serious listening time.