16 Oct 2021

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Temples on Mars - Kingdom of Fear Album Review

17 May 2013 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Hiatus was my introduction to Agent. I first heard it in the background of one of those skate, surf and snow extreme sports shows that were on television before the advent of Emo and fast internet. Nearing the end of a month long Tool binge in anticipation of the rumoured new album, and ready for a change, the song became my new obsession and a major influence for my own band. 

Even now I play it when I’m in the mood for something complex and progressive with that hard hit to the rib cage as the band drops. To this day I regret the missed opportunity to purchase Agent’s previous album Expand/Contract when I saw it in the Warehouse. It was the only copy I’d seen in Palmerston North, but I was a poor student sidetracked from a mission to buy a week worth of noodles. That was 2006.

Has it really been seven years?

Agent have expatriated to London since I last heard them. Their latest album Kingdom of Fear has just been released, and I was relieved to find that after seven years their sound has remained the same. Their sound is still complex, multi-layered, atmospheric and progressive rock, tickling the borderlines of metal and djent. 

At times the only comparison one can make is to Tool, which should be taken as the highest compliment, especially from such a fan and for a band from the ‘naki. I need more than two weeks to properly dissect this complex album, and be assured, this CD will be staying in my stereo until the next Tool album.

In retrospect, relieved is not the right word to describe how I felt listening to Kingdom of Fear. English doesn’t really have a word to explain how I feel about this album. To properly relate my first reaction to Agent’s newest album, you need to picture a long haired and bearded bogan on a beanbag with a pair of those oversized, 70’s as, earmuff like headphones, eyes watering, closed and tilted to the ceiling, mouth agape after passing the only two words I could manage; “Fuck. Yeah.” Is eargasm in the dictionary yet?

Kingdom of Fear is out now and ripping undies everywhere. If there is one album you buy to celebrate New Zealand Music Month, make it this album. Highly recommended for fans of Decortica, Cult of Luna, Tool or anything that isn’t shit.

Kingdom Of Fear
View Track Listing

About Temples on Mars

Temples on Mars is a London based progressive rock band. Originally formed in New Zealand (NZ) under the name Agent, the band relocated to London in 2008. Featuring James Donaldson on vocals and guitar, Daz Carikas on bass, Gerald Gill on guitars, and Dean Gibb on drums, Temples on Mars produces accessible, progressive tinged, rock music.

To date, Temples on Mars have headlined their own NZ tours and UK shows, featured at UK Rock festivals, released two EP’s, plus two full length albums: Expand/Contract which was given 5/5 stars by NZ’s leading music magazine Rip It Up and NZ Musician magazine, making a name for them in their native NZ, and their second album Kingdom of Fear, which created a buzz in the prog-rock scene in the UK and Europe earning the band a 2014 UK progressive music award nomination.

After relocating to London, Temples on Mars quickly became regulars on the live music scene and have shared the stage with numerous UK bands including Skindred, Devil Sold His Soul, Black Peaks, InMe and I Am Giant to name a few. Temples on Mars subsequently teamed up with long time friend and producer Paul Matthews of I Am Giant fame (whose production credits also include OpShop, Blindspott, Stylus and Six60). With Matthews, Temples on Mars began work on their second full length album Kingdom of Fear which was released world wide in December 2013. Kingdom of Fear was mastered by Tom Coyne (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus, I Am Giant) of Sterling Sound in New York.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Temples on Mars


Temples On Mars
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Kingdom Of Fear
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Expand / Contract
Year: 2006
Type: Album
The Pheng Nom Shakedown
Year: 2003
Type: EP

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