For Surfing to Mecca, Tempest added multi-instrumentalist Jon Berger, a folk musician with a stellar reputation in the San Francisco Bay area. His influence is seen in the more complex musical textures and more polished backup vocals, as well as the hint of traditional Morris music on several cuts. Surfing to Mecca has more of a traditional sound on several cuts, and is much more of an electric folk album than most other Tempest albums. This isn't to say the band doesn't rock, as one of the band's great live show anthems makes its first and best appearance here. "You Jacobites By Name" is an antiwar protest song that is nearly 300 years old and no less powerful for that, and the band delivers it with crisp precision and burning intensity. The same power infuses "The Sleeping Highlander," an instrumental led by Berger's fiery violin work. Not everything is angry -- the melancholy "Early Winter," with its pretty hint of blues, and "Take You to the Well," a comic pub rocker, both show the range of the band. Tempest went on to release albums that are a pleasing mix of metal attitude and folk instrumentation, but the band never sounded quite as loose and comfortable as on this album.
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AllMusic Review by Richard Foss