Friday, September 9, 2016

TEMPT: ”Runaway”

Rating: RRRRr
Label: Rock Candy Records
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

The strange phenomenon of young dudes picking up guitars and starting bands with a vintage 80’ies sound is spreading all over the world! TEMPT are a band from New York, and although they weren’t even born in 1989, their debut album sounds like it could have been released back then. The press bio mentions Foo Fighters, Audioslave and Alterbridge but doesn’t claim that Tempt sound like those bands, which is good because they don’t. Their music is pure eighties melodic hard rock, with Van Halen, Baton Rouge, Bon Jovi and White Lion as better references.

The band has collaborated with some giants of 80’ies hard rock scene on this album, namely Michael Wagener who mixed this album and songwriter Jack Ponti, whose signature writing style is easy to notice on some of the songs. My promo files do not carry the songwriter info, but I’m pretty sure that Ponti had a hand in writing at least ”Love Terminator”.

The songs on ”Runaway” range from pretty straight-forward hard rock songs like ”Comin’ On To You” and ”Dirty One” to more melodic material such as ”Aamina”, ”The Fight” and the title track. Both sides of the band work well, and when the hard rocking is combined to the melodic, hook-driven side the results are particularly outstanding. Just check out ”Under My Skin” or the furious ”Sapphire” for example.

Vocalist Zach Allen has a good voice for this kind of material. He reminds me of Olli Herman (Reckless Love) and White Lion’s Mike Tramp at times. The backing vocals are rather good too, and did I mention that guitarist Harrison Marcello is a bit of an axe wizard? Yeah, some of the guitar work has a Vito Bratta’ish vibe to it, and in my books that is a very good thing.

I usually don’t use halves in the rating, but for special occasions I have a few ”minor r’s” in stock… and this album is pretty special. Debut album of the year?

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