“SOUNDS NOTHING LIKE EVANESCENCE! Yes we have a female singer but she’s got more balls then you!” – Temtris Facebook Page
They’ve got that right! Anyone who went to their Shallow Grave album launch last Friday (28/3/14) can attest to this. Vocalist Genevieve Rodda has a killer voice, arguably one of the strongest on the local scene, and she doesn’t even need to growl to blow your head off! But just in case you aren’t knocked to the floor by her power, guitarist Llew Smith provides those growls that commonly accompany female fronted metal bands, and together with Anthony Roberts, the two guitarists rip out some awesome riffs and epic solos over the driving beats of drummer Ben Hart. New to the group in his first performance is bassist Adam Wotherspoon “Spoon”. Apparently Mr Spoon had only played one rehearsal with the band before the album launch, but it was impossible to tell! The entire band rocked the Valve Underground at Sydney’s Agincourt Hotel, in a fitting celebration to start the Temtris Shallow Grave Tour.
Not only was their live performance awesome, but the album kicks serious arse too! It’s been a long time since Masquerade was released back in 2007, but the wait was worth it. From the moment you load up the CD, you realise this is a huge step up for the band, not just in terms of musicianship, but in the quality of the recording itself. Of particular note, the mixing on this album seriously outshines Masquerade. In Shallow Grave, the vocal balance is much improved, with Rodda’s vocals much more audible and better conveying the strength and energy she presents on stage. Her voice is much better balanced against the growls too, which were just a little too dominant in their previous album. Overall, every instrument has found its place within the mix, making this a much better sounding album than Masquerade. But enough of the nerdgasms, time for a track by track breakdown of this work of art!
What an appropriate opening! Driving and full of dark energy from the first hit, the song is a call to rise. Rodda plays off the growls of Smith in the verses with a call and response style, then takes flight in the choruses as she soars above his extended roars. The guitar solo in this song is relatively simple, but the choice of notes is so beautiful it’ll give you goosebumps! Reach out and take her hand already, who could resist that request!?
2. Slave to the System
This song enters with a catchy riff then ramps up the energy with some double-kick madness, but it’s when the chorus gets going that you realise this is going to be one of the most memorable songs of the album. If you like to drive to CDs, you’ll suddenly find yourself singing along by the third listen. Just make sure to keep one hand on the wheel while the other raises the devil horns!
3. Shallow Grave
Ah, the titular track! This is a song with a message, and indeed it is the wordiest on the album. Containing strong imagery from the beginning, it makes dark references to religion and innocence, and the almost inevitable decay of the self at the hands of society. The complexity of the song extends somewhat to the music itself as well, with a slightly less predictable song structure, and a guitar solo that begins simply enough but steadily picks up speed until a screeching high… fuck yeah!
4. The Entity
A dark and gritty song, Temtris has really captured a sense of fear in this track. The bass growls through the verses which speak of some terrifying, ominous spirit being, before Rodda really belts out in the chorus, full of defiance, putting the spectre in its place. This song makes especially good use of dynamics to create tension and release, and it’s good to hear the bass play a larger role in this track.
5. Silent Tears
Beginning with a haunting piano melody and French whispering, you don’t really understand what’s going on, but it sets a rather despairing mood, appropriate to the song once the band comes in. This is easily the moodiest track of Shallow Grave. Every instrument adds to the atmosphere, and Rodda showcases the softer, more emotional side of her vocal abilities. And yet, you can still sense that she has more balls than you! Try not to listen to this song if you’re feeling depressed, you’ll end up curled in a corner sobbing away, thanks to their masterful compositional crafting.
6. Forever Haunted
It’s when you get to this song that you realise that the album has taken a really depressing thematic twist. Continuing from the sadness of the previous track, this song turns to pleading for forgiveness, and if you’ve recently had a relationship fall to pieces, this is a song you’ll relate to. Fortunately, it’s not all despair! The breakdown in this is epic! The song is stripped right back to a single guitar, before the band returning and gradually raising the energy back until the wailing guitar solo. More goosebumps!
7. Darkness Lies
Continuing the theme of despair, this song rounds out the album with lyrics that describe a fading away. But despite the content of the lyrics, this is no fadeout! The energy is constant in this song, with bursts of double-kick action and fast guitar rhythms making this a perfect way to end with a bang!
8. Bonus track: Your Time Has Come
So glad they thought to include this song! If you haven’t seen it already, check out the music video! Full of attitude, this track is aggressive and hard-hitting. The song is a direct challenge, but who in their right mind would accept! Temtris will eat you alive.
So that’s a quick look at this awesome album. If you want to get your heavy metal hands on a copy, hit them up and they’ll send one out! Or if you’re from their hometown of Wollongong, snap one up at their gig this Saturday 5/4/14 at Dicey Riley’s. Free entry! How can you not go? It’s sure to be another epic performance! Rock the fuck on, Temtris! \m/
Check Temtris out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Temtris/78684275977