Temic – Terror Management Theory (Album Review)

Review of the debut album from Temic – Terror Management Theory

By Vic J Giol

In a year where the amount of new prog music released has been plentiful (if not overwhelming), TEMIC throws their hat in the ring with their initial album Terror Management Theory. The influx of new acts releasing their inaugural albums is a beacon of hope for the health and vibrancy of progressive music, especially within the intricate realms of progressive metal. It speaks to the genre’s ability to continuously evolve and attract fresh talent, ensuring that the spirit of innovation and boundary-pushing remains alive. Each new debut represents a unique perspective and a potential shift in the landscape of progressive metal, contributing to its ever-expanding tapestry. It’s a thrilling time for both artists and listeners, as these emerging acts bring a wave of creativity and enthusiasm that revitalizes and sustains the genre for future exploration and aural adventures.

Diego Tejeida (Devin Townsend, Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress, ex-Haken) the mastermind behind the keyboard and soundscape design, and Eric Gillette (Neal Morse Band, Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress), a virtuoso guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, have joined forces to craft a musical odyssey for their collaborative venture, Temic. The seeds of this partnership were planted back in 2016 when their respective bands were on tour. But it took the pandemic shutdown of 2020 for Tejeida and Gillette to channel their collective passion into something new. United by a shared vision to push the boundaries of progressive music, these two gifted musicians have committed to weaving a sonic tapestry that seamlessly blends Tejeida’s keyboard universe with Gillette’s guitar prowess. Their upcoming album, set to release on November 17, 2023, blends the intricate complexities of progressive rock and metal with the pulsating energy of electronic music. The band’s vision prioritizes the pulse as the focal point while ensuring that the vocal melody reigns supreme. Temic’s commitment to pushing musical boundaries and creating a unique sound experience is bound to captivate listeners as they strive to leave their mark on the progressive music scene. This is possible by the additions of Simen Sandnes (Shining) on drums and Frederik Kemp (Maraton) on vocals. You can watch The Prog Report’s interview with Tejeida and Gillette ((HERE)).

After the short introductory “TMT”, “Throught the Sands of Time” kicks off with the band going with a great riff showing off the tightness of Gillette and Sandnes. Then the ethyreal keys of Tejeida supplement the introduction to Kemps’ vocals. The rhythmic syncopation of the instrumentation is balanced by the smooth vocal melodies and harmonies. The breakdown features some of the unique sound structure of the keys which leads into a great short guitar solo. The chorus soars the song through the end. The next track, “Falling Away”, is the band’s second single released in August. This is best represented by the chorus where Kemp and Gillette harmonize between minor and major chords which give it a very uplifting mood with deep guitar chugging reminiscent of Devin Townsend-type wall of sound. Behind the soundboard is the esteemed Rich Mouser (Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse, Transatlantic, Native Construct), who does his usual masterful job of delivering a crisp and powerful mix.

“Count Your Losses” is the band’s first single (released in July) which Tejeida gets to flex his blend of keyboard sound spectrum to drive the song from beginning to end. By this point in the album, it is clear TEMIC has the ability to apply a wide variety of styles as they look to establish their sonic footprint. “Skeletons” closes out the front half of the album with, at this point, their most diverse song. The Dream Theater style intricate introduction leads to a very mellow verse, then dropping into an Robert Trujillo/Infectious Grooves funk style keys and bass line for the second verse. Then comes Gillette’s strongest guitar solo of the album as the rhythm section chugs along quickly transitioning to another funk groove with Tejeida showing off his solo chops. This sounds like it was born from their collective experience in Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress tour.

“Acts Of Violence” brings in the mellower side of the album. The simple arrangement at the beginning allows for Kemp’s dynamic and melodic vocals to be showcased. Sandnes also contributes to the mood with brushes as the song is grooving along. Suddenly, Tejeida slams down a rocking keyboard solo while the band kicks into rock mode for the remainder of the song as Gillette closes the song with his usual shredding chops. This leads into the album’s instrumental “Friendly Fire”. This delivers in every way one would expect from highly skilled musicians in their craft. Once again, the time of touring with Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress is evident in this track. There are some rhythmic segments as well as melodic soaring solos. “Paradigm” is characterized by Kemp’s powerful vocals. He showcases a full range of dynamic control which delivers a soaring chorus.

Coming down the home stretch, “Once More” starts out as a straightforward rocking track as Sandnes alternates between different types of drum styles to keep the music diverse. Surprisingly, rather than delivering another masterfully played solo, the band goes into a heavy breakdown segment which is a stark contrast from the beginning of the song. The final track “Mothallah” is the most recent single released in October. The arrangement set it up as a micro-epic (it ‘only’ clocks in at 7:27). It is a microcosm of the album as it is the perfect closing song. It starts out with heavy guitars and drums then immediately into a soft and ethereal first verse. The second verse increases the intensity as it goes into the anthem style chorus. Tejeida and Gillette get their opportunity to shine in their solos before the song closes with a choir backing the band.

In the tapestry of progressive metal’s current renaissance Terror Management Theory emerges as a diverse sonic adventure. With this release, TEMIC seeks to establish their unique sound and carve out their identity within a booming progressive metal scene. The album not only showcases the band’s top-notch musical chops but also serves as a testament to Mouser’s Jedi-like sound engineering mastery. Amidst the variety of influences from their past bands, TEMIC manages to craft a distinct narrative, with the echoes of their musical roots subtly woven into each track. As the progressive metal scene witnesses a surge of new talent, this places Temic in the discussion of the top new band releases of 2023, promising not just studio excellence, but also a live performance spectacle waiting to unfold.

Terror Management Theory is out on Nov. 17th, 2023.

Order here: https://shopusa.season-of-mist.com/band/temic

Track list:
1. TMT (2:02)
2. Through the Sands of Time (7:00)
3. Falling Away (4:58)
4. Count Your Losses (6:13)
5. Skeletons (7:00)
6. Acts of Violence (5:52)
7. Friendly Fire (5:57)
8. Paradigm (6:33)
9. Once More (5:45)
10. Mothallah (7:27)
Total: 58:54

Fredrik Bergersen (Maraton, 22) – Vocals
Eric Gillette (The Neal Morse Band, Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress) – Guitars and Backing Vocals
Simen Sandnes (Shining, Arkentype) – Drums and Percussion
Diego Tejeida (Devin Townsend, Mike Portnoy’s Shattered Fortress, ex-Haken) – Keyboards and Sound Design

Guest musicians:
Jacob Umansky (USA) – Bass guitar on the whole album
Mosaic Gospel Choir (Norway) – Mothallah
Garden State Threshold Choir (USA) – Mothallah

1 comment

  • I discovered Eric Gillette via his performance with the Neal Morse Band. Seeing him live is a sight to behold. This album by Temic is on my Christmas wish list! Thanks for your review!

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