Norway has a long history of producing some of the most well-known, well-respected, and utterly stellar rock and metal acts that have ever graced those genres. The latest band vying to mark their name into the annuls of Norwegian music history alongside the greats are hard-rock newcomers Tempel. Comprising of three brothers and their best friend, the band blends multiple avenues of hard-rock and metal to create a sound that comes across as something fresh and different, while at the same time capturing an air of familiarity. In this, their self-titled debut, the band condense the very essence of their sound into nine tracks that rip, tear, and shred their way into your skull: not an experience you'll hastily forget.
The opening track 'Vendetta' is a full-throttle, angst-ridden introduction into the world of Tempel. Wrapped in the semi low-fi presentation synonymous with many of their preceding countrymen, the hardcore-tinted piece throws you in at the deep end and thoroughly submerges you into the albums' stylistic domain. Something inherently clear right from the start is the inclusion of key elements from a multitude of different genres, which are all craftily weaved into the fabric of the bands sound. While the track, as previously described, is overtly tinged with elements of hardcore, the clear influence of thrash, melodic, black, and death metal can be heard coming forth through the instrumentation. This sounds like a lot to cram into a sub-three-minute song, but that's the very essence of what Tempel are, and because of this, 'Vendetta' is the perfect way to announce their arrival on the first track of their debut.
Immediately following this confident introduction comes one of the albums' standout tracks 'Wolves' - and again, the proverbial goalposts on what genre the band should reside in are moved. Getting off to a subtle, melodic start, the track gently unfolds into something more reminiscent of old-school gothic metal – and you wouldn't be too far off the mark if your mind started drawing comparisons to early Danzig and Turbonegro. While the backbone of the track adheres to a certain genre, other elements still creep in - after all, it wouldn't be Tempel if it only stuck to one genre – and around the midway point of the track the inclusion of some blast beats serve to violently shake the listener out of the comfortable environment created by the preceding section of the track.
Towards the end of the album right out of nowhere, comes a five-minute shining star of a track, careening out of the abyss to hit you right in the chest. The track in question is 'Fortress', and damn did they pull-out-all-the-stops on this one. Kicking off with a percussive introduction, gradually growing in intensity before culminating with authoritative distorted guitar chords which grab your attention by the scruff of its neck and refuses to let go. 'Fortress' is crammed with beautifully contrasting rhythmic and melodic sections that see the band seamlessly hopping from one to the next in what can be best described as - at the risk of sounding horrendously cliché – a journey.
If their debut album is anything to go by, Tempel may just be the next heavy-hitter to emerge from Norway. With a sound that is as equally fresh and impressive as it is hard to pin into any one genre, to see the band continue to grow, evolve, and settle into their own rhythm with future releases will be a truly exciting spectacle to witness.
Tempel is released 22nd of March via Jansen Records