Album Title: Viridian
Label: Napalm Records
Date of Release: 24 January 2020
I want to start off 2020 in positive fashion, so I will refrain from complaining about record labels who insist on only offering streams of albums for review purposes. I won’t mention the fact that it makes it almost impossible for those of us who do this writing thing as a hobby to listen anywhere near enough to offer a full, balanced and insightful review. I simply won’t whinge or whine at all, I promise.
Despite my feelings towards streams, there are albums that deserve to be reviewed and ‘Viridian’ is one of these. I will preface this review with the comment that I fully intend to buy it when it is released, so that I can listen to it a lot more, a situation that wouldn’t differ even if I had access to a download promo. With further listening, my views may change but for the purposes of this review, let’s get going…
My first thought when I played ‘Viridian’ was, in the words of my expressive five-year-old, ‘ooof’! There is an energy and spark with the music on this disc that hits you squarely between the eyes right from the very start. That energy is infectious and within seconds, I’m adding to my ‘ooof’ comment with ‘oooh, yes’, as a smile spreads across my face.
I’ve never heard Temperance before, but what I have quickly discovered with ‘Viridian’ is a band that is seeking to make music that is uplifting, melodic, modern and unashamedly saccharine. But also quite heavy too. Once the initial surprise has passed, I find myself thinking of names like Amaranthe, Sonata Arctica and perhaps, to a lesser extent, Delain or Serenity.
The Amaranthe comparisons come to mind initially because, like the Swedes, Temperance employ a triple vocal attack, with the gorgeously sonorous voice of Alessia Scolletti joined by pianist Michele Guaitoli and guitarist Marco Pastorino. Together, they add another layer to the music, with Pastorino creating some of the important metallic bite thanks to some well-placed but not over-used gruff growls here and there. The quintet is rounded out by bassist Luca Negro and drummer Alfonso Mocerino and it is a pretty impressive collective, as a sense of intent and professionalism is evident from each and every one of the five musicians.
It isn’t just the three-pronged vocal approach that echoes Amaranthe as opening track, ‘Mission Impossible’ is a modern-sounding barnstormer complete with electronic effects and ballsy riffs, full of joie-de-vivre and an irresistible chorus made all the more infectious thanks to the vocal harmonies from all three singers.
But crucially, Temperance understand that variety is the spice of life and to underline this point, the immediate follow-up, ‘I Am The Fire’ is a wonderful melodic metal track with a strong power metal vein as well as more of a straight-up hard rock swagger. Then, the title track goes full-on symphonic power metal on us, as Guaitoli sings in a manner that calls to mind Sonata Arctica’s Tony Kakko. Mind you, it doesn’t seem to matter what Temperance dish up on ‘Viridian’, as just about every song features a sing-along, hook-laden and infectious chorus; this is the epitome of melodic metal.
And, as I have alluded to on a couple of occasions, this is one melodic metal album that deserves the ‘metal’ tag. We’re not talking Cannibal Corpse or Strapping Young Lad levels of brutality but these songs are definitely aggressive, punchy and heavy. There are quality riffs all over the place, not to mention plenty of beefy rhythms, driven by sticksman Mocerino and enhanced by bassist Negro, often at a swift, galloping pace.
Special mentions have to go to tracks like ‘Let It Beat’ thanks to its effervescent nature, as well as another memorable chorus, crescendo, and killer wailing vocals from both Guaitoli and Scolletti. The overblown, cinematic and symphonic ballad ‘Scent Of Dye’ is tremendous ear candy despite its overt sugar-coated nature at times. ‘Nanook’, on the other hand, it a delightful folk-infused romp that further demonstrates the Temperance willingness to experiment just a little within the broader confines of the genre.
With more time and accessibility to listen, I’m sure I could have gone into more detail about ‘Viridian’. Happily though, Temperance have made enough of an immediate impact that I felt able to put pen to paper and scribble my thoughts about what is undeniably a high quality release. The only doubt I have about ‘Viridian’ is its longevity because music this immediate and melodic can sometimes lose its lustre after a few spins. Come back to me later in the year once this disc and its striking artwork nestles in my collection and I’ll let you know. In the meantime, do yourselves a favour and jump on board the Temperance bandwagon because it’s a wild ride.
The Score of Much Metal: 90%
Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: