Female fronted metal with clean lead vocals and growly backing vocals. So this must be corset and gothic waif warbling then? Hardly. I mean check the name above the review; does it say by ‘Andy Barker’ or ‘Pete Woods’?
No, Aussies Temtris are a far tougher affair and take their sound from traditional if modern heavy metal with healthy but careful lifts of touches that are influenced by thrash and maybe a bit of black/death (but not too much). It’s also their third album, the first time I’ve ever heard them and their singer Genevieve Rodda apparently has more balls than me (not difficult, frankly…).
First thing of note (!) is that the lady certainly has one beautiful metal voice and those tonsils are very much at the forefront here. Smooth and effortlessly clean but powerful, with a lovely lower register when she needs it. She can also put a lot of edge and expression into it when required, too. The death backing vocals also neatly balance her clean lines, mostly stopping things sounding too slick and technical (‘Your Time Has Come’, the bonus track here, being a perfect example of all this). Musically, with two guitars, the sound moves seamlessly between a very modern chunky bass and drum powered sound, in and out of Maiden/Priest territory and circling melodic death at a respectful distance.
Opener ‘Captured’ does all this, with the kind of soaring chorus that our own Welsh lovelies Triaxis are also so adept at. In fact they’d make a neat and complimentary bill together, I reckon, with strong differences in sound but a fair few shared roots. Temtris can write hooks, too: ‘Entity’, a thoroughly outstanding song with a fine melodeath riff sliding into classic metal leads, builds on the vocals to an utterly chill inducing chorus that will stay with you for days. The title track ‘Shallow Grave’ even steps very close to true doom with a fine, sombre tone and Ms Rodda extensively using her rich lower register to great effect as well as a style of phrasing that screams Bruce Dickinson of all people as the maidenesque guitars snake and coil through it! Really, very very fine stuff.
Bad points? Nothing that the odd tweak here or there wouldn’t sort. Sometimes the sheer quality of the higher lead wailing does make things a bit too slick with the use of echo but as I said we also get those death vocals to balance and even without them the lass works hard and really does put variation into this. Plus you can’t complain about her being too good and that lower register… Wow. The guitars are excellent and have a real flow between riff and lead, tech melodeath and heavy metal, and if they are a pinch too tech for me at times there will be thousands who prefer it that way.
Did I say thousands? I see no good reason why not. Honestly this stuff should go down an absolute storm in Europe and Scandinavia. Get on a decent festival bill and they’ll make loads of new friends easy. For fans of Sinergy, Triaxis, Benedictum, Doro… Give them a listen, they will not disappoint.