The 10th Anniversary Compilation


Magna Carta Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Rule number one in the music industry: Don't screw with the original song.

Collorary to the rule: If your audience hasn't heard the original song, then everything's fair game.

Lief Sorbye and Tempest have been slugging it out in the progressive rock scene for ten years now, but many people new to their style of kicked-up Celtic folk and rock might not realize that the band has more than two albums out (the others being hard to find). But the long-time fans know these songs, and have been clamoring for them at shows.

So, as a "thank you" to the fans for their support, what better gift than for Sorbye and the band to re-record some of these heretofore lost classics? Did they do them justice with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The 10th Anniversary Compilation? Well, good question - I've not had the chance to hear the original versions. But if you're a fan of wither Celtic or progressive music, you're going to like what you hear.

If the word Celtic scares you (hey, any name scares Bulls fans these days), think of Tempest as what Jethro Tull would have sounded like had they fully merged with Fairport Convention. It's Heavy Horses kicked up a notch (sorry, Emeril). It's leprechauns kicking the living daylights out of your eardrums, the background music to down Shamrock shakes to... and the band is really from many different parts of the world - but no present member is from Ireland!

When you listen to this, I dare you to not imagine Jethro Tull doing "Captain Morgan," a song that Tempest rocks to the rafters. (Listening to the lyrics, it's a sad irony that some company named a brand of hooch after him.) Try to not get up from your easy chair and dance a jig to "The Sleeping Highlander" before falling down and having to call 911. Try to not get sucked in to tracks like "You Jacobites By Name," "Queen Of Argyll" and "Top Of The Hill".

Can't do it, can you? Neither could I - though I didn't end up trying the jig. (I learned a long time ago that I can't dance to save my life. Just ask my wife.)

Of course, if you're not into Celtic music, you may think that you can throw all of this out the window, right? Wrong . Tempest adds enough zest into the music to make anyone willing to give it a second chance. And even, heaven forbid, you walk away from it still not liking Celtic music, chances are you'll respect these five guys for the energy they put into their performances.

And after listening to these versions of older tracks, do they make me want to search out albums like Surfing To Mecca and Serrated Edge? Two words: Oh, yes. (I will admit a bit of bias, here; being part Irish, I have always had an affinity for most Irish music, the key exception being one disc in my mother's collection that sent me into convulsions.)

The 10th Anniversary Compilation is a wonderful birthday gift that Tempest has chosen to give to their fans, and is a great way to kick off the new year of releases.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Magna Carta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.