Tempus Veritas by Black Orchid EmpireRelease date: April 14, 2023
Label: Season Of Mist
Black Orchid Empire are a three piece progressive rock group from London armed with their second album titled Tempus Veritas, which is Latin for something like truth time or always in time but whatever its meaning, the music speaks volumes about where this band has been and where they are headed.
The opening and title track ‘Tempus Veritas’ serves as a brief intro before the first actual song ‘Hyrdogen’ kicks off proceedings with force. Immediately noticeable (to my ears at least) are the jaw dropping drum sounds which are simply enormous with a gorgeous snare sound to match. The mix is crisp and spacious which serves the music well because it holds the rhythm section in the forefront under the spectacular vocals to come and intricate guitar work. The guitars actually surprised my ears more often than expected with some very dynamic performances and unpredictable sonic choices.
All throughout Tempus Veritas Paul Visser shows off his range not only as a vocalist but as a guitarist as well. It’s easy to identify powerful vocals, great tone and massive range but the decisions behind those strummed cleans and certain chord choices, reverb drenched high parts, picked dotted 8th delay lines and very subdued layers in the background suggest a lot of time and thought has been put into every section. Of course to counter these delicate touches there’s a lot of riffage and heavy moments to build on. To make these moments land with maximum impact the band seems deliberate about just when to get low, nasty and flashy. Everything on this album screams maturity and confidence in themselves as artists. It’s very impressive.
‘Deny The Sun’ was a clear and easy favourite track even on the first listen, if this is your first introduction to these guys start here. The band embrace a more intense attack and a faster prog/rock approach which is absent from the first half of the album. The chorus melody is enormous and so many of the rhythmic jaunts are massive head movers.
This actually kicks off a whole bracket of fantastic tracks to follow with ‘Glory To The King’ and ‘Summit’ making the back end of the album much more engaging to my ears. ‘Vesuvius’ is another sheer juggernaut of jutting riffs, powerful chords and soaring melodies. It’s one of the first times on the whole album when I could single out the bass as doing something separate from the guitars and given the space. If I have one meagre criticism of the album it’s simply that we don’t hear the bass doing nearly enough up against the avalanche of talent surrounding it. I imagine the limits of being a three piece are a consequence.
All up this is a great listen that actually feels like an album…not just a collection of singles. It flows, ebbs and builds. The production is outstanding and the energy it gives off is really refreshing!!