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Tempter: S/T 12"

Tempter: S/T 12"

Tags: · 20s · crossover · hardcore · hcpmf · thrash
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Hurtling along at the speed of global rage, and merging the best of crossover metal and hardcore from ‘80s Japan, Sweden and UK, Tempter brings a new voice to a legendary sound. It should come as no surprise that the group is comprised of hardcore veterans whose collective pedigree includes bands such as Candy, Division of Mind, Nosebleed, Ekulu and more.

Standouts “Sacricide” and “Pestilence,” built on pulverizing riffs and apocalyptic solos, bookend the S/T EP while “Uniformed Madness” and “Night Terror” barrel toward impending doom with the speed of a buzzsaw. Mixed by Fucked Up’s Jonah Falco, the production distills crushing noise and acidic atmospheres and provides a fitting backdrop for vocalist Valentina Lopez’s showstopping and varied performance. “La Lluvia,” with its use of samples and layers of synths, dances around spoken word sections that read out a poem of the same name by Roberto Bolaño, one of Chile’s greatest writers:

“ahora puedes llorar y dejar que tu imagen se diluya
En los parabrisas de los coches estacionados a lo largo
Del paseo marítimo. Pero no puedes perderte.”

“Right now you can cry and let your image dissolve
on the windshields of cars parked along
the boardwalk. But you can’t lose yourself.”

Bolaño’s work fits perfectly with the biting satirical punk mood that Lopez exudes with every breath. He often questioned the privilege of making art while the junta would torture people in basements. Hardcore, punk and metal often presents itself as a political act more than music, whether in its DIY ethic or protest lyrics. However, perhaps we find it too easy to fall into its angry embrace and eat each other alive whilst the world outside continues to fall. This music makes hell on earth a little bit more bearable, but ultimately, Bolaño and Lopez call on counterculture music to have meaning and political action.

Our take: Tempter is a new band from Richmond, Virginia featuring members of Nosebleed, Candy, Division of Mind, and many others. While all of those bands sound pretty different from one another, Tempter’s style is rooted in the metal / hardcore crossover of mid-80s Europe. When I think of crossover, I imagine fast, precise riffing and nimble rhythms, but that isn’t Tempter’s sound at all. They’re much more atmospheric, a quality accentuated by the mix, which puts the drums pretty far back and lays a lot of distortion on the guitars and vocals, making the whole thing sound like a fuzzy wash. There’s also not a lot of fast thrashing parts, with Tempter spending most of these five tracks laying into catchy, mid-paced riffs that would be just as at home on Best Wishes as Within the Prophecy. The unexpected production gives Tempter a sinister sound, more like a tense and creepy thriller than a full on splatter movie. This atmospheric quality comes across most uniquely in “La Lluvia,” which features samples, synths, and spoken-word vocals drawn from a poem by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. While that track pushes at the boundaries of Tempter’s sound, they follow it up with “Pestilence,” a riffy crowd-pleaser in the making. If you dug Game’s killer recent EP, Legerdemain, you should check this out, but Tempter’s unique take on this crossover sound stands on its own merits.