Review Summary: dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people.
As with any genre, even crust has gone to shi
t. I remember several years ago when I was first exposed to some ‘neo-crust’ bands, or modern, ‘dark’ crust to those who are unaware of the term, I was hugely fixated on how awesome a style of music it was. It didn’t take me long to find a horde of similar sounding bands (mostly from Spain) who put out albums that were fun for a little while but had the longevity of a matchstick. Of course, there are still some great bands, both dead and active. Fall of Efrafa
are one of the better ones, being quite well-known for their unique post rock-y approach to crust. Tempest, out of Canada, only formed a couple of years ago, yet have sat me on my arse with their full-force and belligerent approach to the genre.
is the group’s debut LP, following a 7” that came out in 2009. For a debut, it’s impressive – it takes the typical neo-crust template and filters in Bremen-styled hardcore to make an emotive and highly engaging piece of music. While this is not as ‘experimental’ as, say, Fall of Efrafa, songs like the eponymous track that closes the album hint towards the post-rock aesthetic that Fall of Efrafa have wholeheartedly embraced.
One of the most notable things about Passages
is its cohesion – over its 25 or so minute length, the band throw out some immaculately constructed music, a collection of shorter songs all leading up to the lengthy closer. Tempest simply know
how to put together an album. While this is a hardcore record, it encompasses a variety of moods all which are reflected in the tempo and pace of the accompanying music – despondency and bitterness, vitriolic rage and utter desperation are all here, making this the perfect LP for dark days when you’d rather sit alone in your room and listen to records.
Being a crust record, Passages
obviously has some cool samples, though they are not overused– while occurring a couple of times throughout the record, the most notable sample is the one at the end of the last track, a sample that sits at the culmination of the record and encompasses all that it’s about. The ensuing riff, one which closes the album, burns the previously uttered words onto your mind. What I found most interesting is how uplifting the words of the sample were – I don’t know where it’s taken from (note to self: find out), but it’s a joyous and inspirational monologue, one which contrasts sharply to the darkness of the album before it.
If you enjoy hardcore music at all and are after something with a darker edge, Tempest will deliver the goods. I was disappointed with my anticipated crust album of 2010 in Downfall of Gaia
, but my discovery of Tempest has put my heart at ease. This is a record that you will play and then play and then play again. I haven’t stopped spinning it since I got it, and now that it’s winter here I think it will be revisited even more. Don’t sit on this – just get it.