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Temples on Mars - Gig Review: Agent @ Kings Arms, Auckland 27/11/14

09 Dec 2014 // A review by Andrew Smit

A respectable group of faithful rock devotees assembled at the Kings Arms in Auckland to experience the London based but NZ born Agent perform in NZ for the first time in 6 years.

We were treated to an awesome show, Agent were sounding great, full of power and drive, with lead vocalist James Donaldson in fine form, looking and sounding fit and strong - the whole ensemble rocked and drove in determined style. They made up a song called Technical Difficulties as an accompaniment while the video backdrop not working, but as good as it sounded I don't think they want to play that song again. The video was worth the wait though, as it added a great visual dimension without taking your attention away from the band or the music.

Speaking of the music, Agent supplied a full set of kicking tracks with solid riffs and pile driving rhythms that was a stirring experience. The music was expansive and broad, with occasional atmospheric clean guitar picking that would surge into imposing full on rock. The range of James's vocals was startling, from operatic crooning that would transform into gothic growls and raucous howls. All backed up by awesome guitar work from Gerald Gill and cool bass from Matt Flower, while Al Alvarado's drums were in impeccable sync with the dynamic music the whole night. I hope these guys make a trip home annually so they can build a live following as I think most who were seeing them for the first time, like me, will be back.

Earlier the Arms were warmed up with 2 special guests, first were These Automatic Changers who were relentless and loud, they virtually played non-stop, and did I say they were loud? The room was a bit spartan and my ears were struggling with the intensity, I wanted to feel the music in its entirety without earplugs but I had to retreat to the back of the room! These guys deliver hard and fast guitar rock, with moments of thrashing and full on power but primarily their sound is underlined with a great blues feel. Lead vocalist/guitarist Solomon Cole sounded strong and put in an energetic performance, as did the rest of the guys, who also supplied some great harmonising backing vocals.

Next up was Rule of Thieves who gave a us a cool dynamic show, with multiple guitars and keyboards, their sound is very full and vibrant. The added techno effect of Dan Douglass' keyboards never hindered the rocking sound, with most songs starting with a keyboard riff or melody which then exploded into a frenzied psychotic rock mash that couldn’t be ignored!

 

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

Releases

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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