Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Tempest - A Coming Storm
   
Musical Style: Melodic Metal/Hard Rock Produced By: Chris McCollum
Record Label: Pure Metal Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 1987 Artist Website:
Tracks: 9 Rating: 35%
Running Time: 34:49
Tempest - A Coming Storm

While vocalist Jamie "J.R." Rowe is best known for his work with Guardian and AdrianGale, he actually got his start in the late eighties with the melodic metal band Tempest.  The performance of Rowe, recognized for his gritty and raspy vocal style, is inconsistent at this early stage in his career in that he has not yet reached his potential or completely polished his act.  The guitar playing of brother Mick Rowe, who has fronted the likes of Goliath and Nineteen88, is also hit and miss.  While his lead guitar work is of very high quality on "Kids Are Gonna Rock" and "In His Name (Rock On)", on others such as “Watch Out” and “Games With God” it falls well short of the mark.  Drummer Duane Monk and bassist Steve DeAcutis round out the rhythm section.  Tempest debuted in 1987 with A Coming Storm on Pure Metal Records.
 
A Coming Storm is held back by a muddy sounding and demo-like production job.  The rhythm guitar sounds weak and thin.  More often than not the lead guitar ends up buried in the mix, while the same can be said for the rhythm section.

"Kids Are Gonna Rock" opens the album in a strong manner as a crunchy rhythm guitar drives it with a ton of energy to a chorus with a good catchy hook.  Mick tears it up with a fiery guitar solo backed by a bit of double bass.  While the lyrics to "Kids Are Gonna Rock" are quite strong during its verse -

He is our Rock, He is our fortress
He is our Lord and King
We all live in the body of Christ
We stand united and sing

- they end up trite and clichéd upon reaching its chorus:

Jesus is the Rock, you can jam with the best and live in Christ
The band is gonna rock, we have Him in our hearts, Jesus Christ has set us free
 
Introduced as keyboards fade between the left and right channel, “Golgotha” is backed by the sound of thunder before Jamie sings about the crucifixion over a quietly played guitar line:

They crucified our Lord on Calvary
They crucified His name, it saved you, it saved me

The catchy guitar riff that kicks in impels the song at an upbeat tempo until it falls flat on its face for a chorus carried by the melody to the well known hymn "Jesus Loves Me":

Jesus loves you, this I know
For the bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
We are weak, but He is strong

Meaningful message? Yes. Good music? No. On the other hand, I like how Mick closes out the songs last minute and a half with more of his high quality lead guitar work.

"Watch Out" is medium-good hard rocker held back by an uneven lead vocal performance from Jamie and a chorus driven by background vocals placed way too forward in the mix.  As the song slows, it reaches an instrumental passage featuring several seconds of ordinary sounding lead guitar work. 

Getting underway to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar, “Games With God” plods along at a monotonous sounding mid-tempo pace until it attains a repetitive chorus reinforced by pounding drums.  The lead guitar work throughout an extensive instrumental passage fails to make the grade.  The songs lyrics, at the same time, leave you scratching your head:

You gotta read your bible
That's where God can be found
Not on a ride at Christian Disneyland
Unless that ride is heaven bound

After a catchy guitar riff takes "Tell Me" through its first and second verse, the song maintains its momentum as it evenly flows to a very solid hook filled chorus.  Mick's lead guitar work is well performed but ends up buried in the mix.  "Tell Me" talks about victory in the life of a Christian:

Out of the darkness, into the Light
I'm running full speed ahead
Behind me now, a life uncertain
The old man in me is dead

A blend of crunchy rhythm guitar and pulsating drums initiates "Metal Mission", the two trading off as the song moves through its first verse before the rhythm guitar leads the way to an emotionally charged chorus that ranks among the albums best.  Mick contributes a blazing guitar solo bouncing between the left and right channel.

"God's Will Be Done" starts to a drum solo before cheesy vocal harmonies repeat its title in a tedious manner.  Once the rhythm guitar kicks in, it proceeds to drive the song forward hard and heavy to a chorus ending to more overdone vocal harmonies.  Mick's lead guitar work, on the other hand, is of a very high quality.

The power ballad "All My Days" begins to several seconds of bluesy lead guitar work reinforced by a punchy bass line.  Advancing through its first and second verse at a slower more-mid tempo pace, the song picks up in pace for a sweeping chorus with a nice worshipful feel.  An erratic vocal performance from Jamie is far from his potential.  "All My Days" is a song about faith:

I exalt Your name O Lord
I acknowledge my sin to You
Into You I will put my trust
And Your love will see me through

Opening to cheesy vocal harmonies chanting the phrase "Rock on with Jesus", a heavy handed riff propels "In His Name (Rock On)" forward until it reaches a surprisingly good catchy chorus with lyrics, unfortunately, on the redundant side:

Rock on with Jesus, He's the One
Rock on with Jesus, He's the Son...

Mick closes the song with a minute and a half of the albums best lead guitar work.

In closing, while I am tempted to describe A Coming Storm as an irrelevant work of art at best, Tempest displays in no uncertain terms that a lack of ability does not hold it back.  Jamie Rowe proves a very fine vocalist when at the top of his game, while Mick Rowe displays a penchant for writing a song with a good catchy hook (a quality he will bring with him to his future bands Goliath and Nineteen88).  All around, the bands lack of experience is revealed by inconsistencies in the key areas of songwriting, musicianship and lyrical depth.  A less than stellar production job only compounds the problems.  It is worth pointing out, however, Tempest displayed a significant all around improvement on its follow up effort Eye Of The Storm.

Tempest - Limited Edition

Please note that A Coming Storm was not issued on CD until 1999 when it was combined with Eye Of The Storm on one disc under the title Limited Edition.

Track Listing: "Kids Are Gonna Rock" (3:49), "Golgotha" (5:12), "Watch Out" (2:58), "Games With God" (3:39), "Tell Me" (4:14), "Metal Mission" (3:48), "God’s Will Be Done" (2:08), "All My Days" (4:07), "In His Name (Rock On)" (4:54)

Musicians
Jamie “J.R.” Rowe – Lead Vocals
Mick Rowe – Guitars
Steve DeAcutis – Bass
Duane Monk – Drums

Guest Musicians
Chris McCollum – Guitars
Michael B. Mellett & Chris McCollum – Keyboards
Joe English - Drums

Also Reviewed: AdrianGale – Crunch, Goliath – The Gate, Ninetee88 – The Great American Rock And Roll Spectacle

Reference List
Callaway, Chris. "Whatever Happened To...Tempest?" HM 64 (1997): 40.

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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