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Temples on Mars - Album Review: Temples on Mars

19 Mar 2018 // A review by butch181

The self-titled album from Temples of Mars starts us off with a light intro, featuring some Aladdin-esque Arabic sounding instrumentation and distorted recorded dialogue; almost coming off like the soundtrack to Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy franchise. Gradually rising in volume and layers it leads straight into Gods & Kings. Gods & Kings starts off as a fast-paced thrashy rock piece, interrupted by slow, low, vocal melodies. The chorus for the track is steeped in producer Paul Matthews’ influence, with the calm, deliberate harmonies in the vocals over the top of the distinctive fast-paced guitar riffs that have been synonymous with Matthews’ own project I Am Giant in their Science and Survival stage of evolution.

Bridging the gap between Alternative and Hard Rock, combining both easy listening and harsh vocals, Temples on Mars are proving themselves capable of creating elaborate soundscapes. James Donaldson’s vocals are soothing, but fresh and passionate when needing to inject energy into the tracks.

The track names provide a hint into the lyrical content and tone of the album, with such names as Afraid of Living, Suicide by Tiger, Death in the Afternoon, and Dining with the Devil. Sombre and contemplative in mood, their latest music video released, So In Love With Your Own Drug, is a track that considers the repercussions of our reliance on social media and technology in this age infested by the immeasurable reach of the never-sleeping internet. A relatable topic without a doubt.

The twelve-track album runs for over an hour in length, and even ignoring the intro and outro, the array of effects, vocal and orchestral/instrumental additions are vast in number. It is amazing how similar to I Am Giant the style is, with hints of New Way Home, The Butterfly Effect, and Mastodon, but the one thing that is really missing is that positive vibe that counteracts the moody feeling of the album. So In Love With Your Own Drug is the closest to an uplifting vibe, but after listening to the whole album for an hour, there is the risk of the tracks coming across as samey. That is with the exception of track 10, When Gods Collide, with such a pace to the riff, it combines the macabre of Muse, with the excitable unpredictable quirkiness of At The Drive-In; it can’t help but remain memorable.

With I Am Giant releasing their final album, and heading out on their final tours, there will definitely be a gap in the market and a large number of fans looking for something new to fill the void. Fingers crossed they do not struggle with the same battles of being stuck in the abyss between what the radios consider pop and heavy, because Temples on Mars have a great maturity and confidence to their sound, and given the chance, they have the ability to break through the monotony of modern day radio playlists.


Review written by Alex Moulton

 

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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