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Black Orchid Empire – Tempus Veritas

Black Orchid Empire
Tempus Veritas
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 24 May 2023, 6:08 AM

From Bandcamp, “Blending elements of contemporary AOR, melodic rock, and Djent, BLACK ORCHID EMPIRE presents a Progressive sound that is as polished as it is technical, as fresh as it is familiar, and as melodic as it is hard hitting. Since their debut in 2016, the London-based trio’s star has been on the rise as they corner the active rock market in the U.K. Now, with ‘Tempus Veritas’, the band is ready to take it to the next level. Conceptually, the album is a collection of stories that seeks to find compelling imaginary narratives hidden away in history as we know it.” The album has eleven songs.

The title track is the first. It’s a short, intro piece, with depressing tones from clean guitars. “Hydrogen” has heavy, Djent accents and smooth clean vocals, that are harmonized at times. A commanding and powerful sound comes in the chorus, which is also a bit despondent, but very catchy. “The Raven” has more weighted accents in the beginning, followed by more smooth vocals. They remind me a bit of VOLA in how they hit the extremes. Progressive elements are more noticeable in this song also, mostly in how tight the band moves through various passages. It is clear that they are excellent musicians.

“Last Ronin” begins with tension in the clean guitars and vocals. Rhythms ease in slowly, followed by a rich and melodic chorus. The band then moves effortlessly between some heavy Progressive accents. “Scarlet Haze” is even more depressive, if that is possible. But there are also notes of positive thinking here. The subject sounds torn over what to believe. But the chorus makes the decision for him…it is affirming and has great hooks. A meaty bass line also develops underneath. “Deny the Sun” goes the opposite direction, hitting hard out of the gates. Chugging rhythms are stirred in with harmonized vocals, and the band hits them with deadly accuracy. “Glory to the King” is another strong combination of liquid smooth vocals with heavy, Djent accents from the guitars. The backbone of the song is quite heavy, while the forefront remains melodic and catchy.

“Summit” is quick ride over near-perfect Progressive timing in the rhythms and more mellow vocals. This seems to be the band’s best feature…the juxtaposition of these two competing styles. “Weakness” is another heavy, chugging song where the vocals are snarly at times and melancholic at other times. Another meaty bass line holds down the bottom end underneath. Grab that catchy chorus as well. “Vesuvius” was of course the volcano that destroyed Pompeii many centuries ago. It has those same ardent qualities…it can spew forth magma for miles and man does that heavy edge come through.

“Latimer” closes the album, and it has a dark and dangerous edge. They hold back the heavy tones as long as they can, but when they finally break free, they are unleashed with the power of the Gods. Overall, I found their sound both interesting and intriguing. They are obviously a talented trio, and they are able to hit both extremes of heavy, ardent tones as well as melodic, bright ones. On the album, you will find both, and the subtle shifting in and out of these passages is accomplished from seamless hands of experienced musicians. You also get the distinct feeling that the band could unleash their prowess at any minute, but they prefer to let the songwriting take center stage.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Tempus Veritas
2. Hydrogen
3. The Raven
4. Last Ronin
5. Scarlet Haze
6. Deny the Sun
7. Glory to the King
8. Summit
9. Weakness
10. Vesuvius
11. Latimer
Paul Visser – Vocals, Guitar
Dave Ferguson – Bass, Vocals
Billy Freedom – Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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