19 Sep 2021

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Malachim - Album Review: Vitasphere

05 Sep 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

I was sat working away at my desk one evening recently, when I had a message come through from TeMatera Smith, asking if I would be interested in hearing a brand-new album which he had literally just finished mixing. Of course, I said yes, and he provided me with a Soundcloud link to this release, which immediately blew me away. My mind was further damaged when it transpired that this is a solo release from TeMatera himself. These days TeMatera is most widely known as a producer for the likes of Troy Kingi, as well as running AAA Records and Red Room Studios. However, it needs to be remembered that he started his career as a guitarist, was a member of the Sony-signed Sundog in the UK, while in NZ he was guitarist and singer in The Symphony of Screams who as well as releasing some wonderful albums were also the highest ranked local support act at Rock2Wgtn 2008 where they played on both nights, supporting the likes of Kiss and Ozzy Osbourne.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see TSOS play a few times, and always enjoyed the sheer power and might of their grunge metal approach, so if someone had told me that TeMatera had recorded a new album I would have expected something similar. In fairness, TeMatera has been involved with many NZ artists over the years, mentoring, guiding, recording, producing etc, and very few of these are actually metallic in any way whatsoever, but I did not expect something which is ambient, New Age, and deeply compelling. TeMatera says, “Each track written in the key of its associated astral sign. Made with the intention to align and bring into presence the listener, aiding concentration, meditation, and sleep.”

His star sign is Scorpio, which is in C, while mine is Taurus and is in A, but while each song is in a different key, they are all bound together by the same ambient tranquility and presence which makes this such a compelling and incredibly deep piece of work. It is music you can fall into like a deep pool, looking up and seeing the layers, hearing the sounds of the water as you drift to the bottom with the air slowly escaping from your lungs... There is a need to play this on headphones, or very loudly in a room where there are no distractions whatsoever, as this takes over the senses, moving the brain into new directions. In that respect it totally achieves what TeMatera wanted; there is a deepness and contemplation within, with elements of Leo being almost whalelike. There is never any rushing in any of this, rather every note is taken in deliberate steps, with forethought present in everything that is happening. One may not know where the path is going to lead, but it has been carefully constructed and we are being led in a manner we just do not understand.

There is a solidity to this, a physical form which is much stronger than many music I hear in this style, and the result is a constrained and restrained power. There is never a threat or edge, rather that we are being taken on a journey which we need to complete. This is powerful indeed.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Written By Wolves - EP Review: Secrets - The Collab Project
16 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Since I started writing for New Zealand’s #1 music site, https://www.muzic.
Alien Weaponry - Album Review: Tangaroa
16 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
There is no doubt whatsoever that Alien Weaponry have captured the imagination not only of the New Zealand public, but metalheads worldwide, with their combination of groove and thrash metal mixing with their Maori heritage to create something very special indeed. There really is no other band quite like them, although I do sometimes find myself thinking of the impact of Sepultura and their Roots album, but one does need to remember that was Sepultura’s sixth album, some 12 years after their first release.
Domingo Candelario - EP Review: Sin Palabras
16 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Although there is always a very Cuban base to his music, Domingo has covered many different styles, as he transcends culture and language: music is about expressing emotions honestly and he tries to be as unique as he can.  As a child, his parents listened to a lot of Brazilian music, and he was fascinated by the way they used harmonies: it was so beautifully put together, so soft and in connection with the soul.
Glenn Bodger - Album Review: I'll Leave The Light On
16 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Here we have the debut solo album from Glenn Bodger, who provided most of the instrumentation himself, although he has also been assisted by former Braintree bandmate Darryn Harkness, who helped with additional guitar, bass and keyboards where required. From the gentle, almost cautiously picked acoustic guitar notes on opener I’ll Leave The Light On, we are brought carefully into a world which is dated yet fresh, comfortable but new, as he mixes together different musical elements in an independent, alternative style which is often somehow commercial and others when they are definitely not.
Samantha Josephine - EP Review: Fly Bird Fly
15 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
Samantha Josephine's six-track Fly Bird Fly EP is less than 13 minutes long, but in many ways that makes total sense, as there is a feeling within this that we are being allowed into a secret and very personal world and that it would be intrusive to stay for too long. One can imagine Samantha performing in a corner, hoping that no-one will see or hear her, and when I read in her bio that only her girlfriend has seen her perform in the last year, and that even she is not allowed to be around when Samantha is writing, then it makes perfect sense.
The Night - Single Review: Untouchable
12 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
This cannot be right. According to the information I have in front of me, this Wellington-based band was formed from a group of music students in 2017, started performing live in 2018, and their ages now range from 15 to 18!
Channeled - EP Review: Perception
12 Sep 2021 // by Kev Rowland
As I have said previously, 2020 was a breakthrough year for Channeled, as Ben Ruegg recorded the second album and formed an operational live band to make it more than just a studio project. They made it through to the final of the Ding Dong Lounge Battle of the Bands and set up a headline show at the same venue with Cafe Fistfight and Mariner as support to celebrate the release of I Heard Penelope Sing, but then disaster struck with Ben being rushed to hospital following a Grand Mal seizure.
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