Tempest

The Double-Cross

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Celtic music -- Irish and Scottish as well as Breton -- has moved in many different directions in the '90s and the 21st century. There are still plenty of traditional Celtic artists (both singers and instrumentalists) playing standards that their ancestors embraced in Dublin, Glasgow, or Belfast long ago -- and on the contemporary side, everything from Celtic new age to Celtic electronica to Celtic punk can be found if one knows where to look. The fact that there are so many styles to choose from shows the overall health of Celtic music, and the fact that a Celtic folk-rock band like Tempest is willing to look to many different places for inspiration on The Double-Cross exemplifies the sort of open-mindedness that isn't hard to find on the modern Celtic scene. Essentially, Celtic folk-rock is the best way to describe this 50-minute CD; there is no reason why Tempest and similar outfits shouldn't wear that term like a badge of honor. But that doesn't mean that their material cannot come from a variety of places -- and on The Double-Cross, Tempest puts their stamp on everything from "Eppy Moray" (a traditional Scottish song) to the traditional Norwegian folk song "Per Spelmann" to the Finnish polka "Sakijarven Polka" (which is incorporated on lead singer Lief Sorbye's "Black Eddy"). Of course, performing Scandinavian songs in a Celtic-oriented setting isn't a stretch when you consider the Nordic influence in Celtic culture -- the Vikings who invaded the British Isles before and during the medieval period (which lasted from 1000-1450, according to historians) clearly left their mark -- but still, the inclusion of songs that didn't originate in Ireland, Scotland, or Brittany shows Tempest's very global outlook. The Double-Cross is an album that rocks passionately on both instrumentals and vocal offerings, although there is never any doubt that Tempest's roots run deep on this fine addition to their catalog.

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