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TEMPEST:
Balance
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Released April 24, 2001


Dionysus struggles to overcome the force of Apollo ... yin arm-wrestles with yang ... Black grapples with white, day locks horns with night.

A common thread is seen here, running like a blood-red line through all of literary and artistic history: the quest for balance. It is the quest for the understanding of that which we do not possess, the understanding that our own particular perspective is certainly not the only view of the world.

In the case of the folk-rock band Tempest, this quest for balance becomes much more literal and, at the same time, much more fundamental: this is not some high-minded concept to these men. Rather, they aim to strike the perfect balance every time they take instrument in hand.

For over a decade, Tempest has forged a path which snakes its way between the traditional folk music of the Celtic nations, and the strong tradition of rock music which calls the entire world its home. They wish to pay homage to their roots, while helping those same roots grow and extend into the future.

"As a band, we're always trying to strike a perfect balance between folk music and high-energy rock and roll. And on this new studio release, because of choice of material and the way we've put it together, we've come closer to that than we ever have before." So says lead-man Leif Sorbye, the voice and one of the principal string-pullers of Tempest. "My first love is traditional music, and as much as I love traditional Celtic and other folk music in its pure form, I feel that in order for it to survive it has to be updated. Otherwise it ends up as a museum piece."

The fellows in Tempest needn't worry about becoming a museum piece anytime soon; their blend of Celtic and folk traditions with modern rock sensibilities, is something that very, very few artists are even attempting. And among those who do attempt the interface, none succeed as magnificently as Tempest.

On their new album Balance, traditional melodies are fused into the affairs of today with artistry and aplomb. There are three traditional songs to be found on Balance – one from Scotland ("Captain Ward"), one from Ireland ("Two Sisters"), and one from Sorbye's homeland of Norway ("Villemann"). The rest of the tunes on the disc represent the wonderful alchemy which is unique to Tempest, a modern-day minstrel's take on traditional folk music. When the poet coined the phrase "everything old is new again," he might have had something like this in mind.

For Sorbye, one of the band's goals has always been the blurring of that line between old and new – in other words, the creation of a new sound, a third sound that is distinctly theirs. And on Balance, they have succeeded: "On this record I think we're closer than we've ever been. The barriers are gone - you can't point at any song and say 'that's a Tempest song,' or 'that's a traditional song.'"

Recording an album always presents a unique challenge for Tempest – they are hailed the world over as one of the great live bands, touring constantly, their on-stage energy and presence the stuff of modern-day music legend. So how do you capture that energy when the audience and the stage are replaced by studio walls and a microphone?

"Being in the studio is a different artform," says Sorbye. "It's different from being on stage. So what I try to strive for personally is go for feel, rather than being note perfect. If it communicates what I want to communicate, that's more important than getting the phrasing and the notes perfect. And I think that this new album, in many ways has more life to it than our previous records. When I listen to it, there's a lot of spunk and life and energy in it."

Life and energy - hallmarks of the Tempest sound. A perfect balance has been achieved.


TEMPEST
Balance

Catalog # : MA-9053-2
Price : $16.98

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Balance
AUDIO CLIPS


01 – Captain Ward
(mp3 or realaudio)

02 – Dancing Girl
(mp3 or realaudio)

03 – Dance of the Sand Witches
(mp3 or realaudio)

04 – The Iron Lady
(mp3 or realaudio)

05 – Two Sisters
(mp3 or realaudio)

06 – Wicked Spring
(mp3 or realaudio)

07 – Old Man Flint
(mp3 or realaudio)

08 – Villemann
(mp3 or realaudio)

09 – Battle Mountain Breakdown
(mp3 or realaudio)

10 – Journeyman
(mp3 or realaudio)

11 – Between Us
(mp3 or realaudio)

12 – Royal Oak
(mp3 or realaudio)