I always like to do a little background research on a band or musician before I start my review to make sure I get all my ducks in a row and facts straight. But a web search of the band name Tempus Fugit proved to be something of a challenge with about a half dozen bands sharing the same name.
There is a progressive rock Tempus Fugit established in 1985 from Toronto, Canada with three albums under their belt; a black metal thrash band from Holland established in 2003; a pop rock groups from France; a tribute band from Houston, Texas; a group based out of Long Island, New York; and a popular working bar band out of Cleveland, Ohio. All of which are named Tempus Fugit and located on the web.
But the Tempus Fugit I'll be reviewing today is an impressive symph-prog band hailing from Brazil. And like many of their South American counterparts (Cinema Show, Sagrado Coracao Da Terra, Espiritu, Armosphera, Bacamarte, Trem Do Futuro, and Crucis) they share the romantic musical sophistication of the early Italian progressive rock pioneers like PFM, Locanda Delle Fate, Acqua Fragile, Banco, Osanna, and Goblin.
Comparisons could easily be drawn to the early Italian masters in their first two melodic symphonic prog albums "Tales From A Forgotten World" and "The Dawn After The Storm", but with the release of their third album "Chessboard", which was a six year effort recorded between March 2001 and December 2006, the band is taking on a harder-edged approach similar to Germany's top notch outfit RPWL, and British neo-prog groups like Abel Ganz, Arena, Pallas, Galahad, Twelfth Night, Grey Lady Down, and Fish era Marillion, as well as Pink Floyd. And their epic title track "Chessboard" is reminiscent of Gabriel era Genesis during the breath taking crescendo of tracks like "Cinema Show"or "Supper's Ready".
The music is well constructed, beautifully produced, and awash with lush keyboards, guitar arpeggios, a solid bass and percussion backbone, and a passionate vocalist with just a scant hint of an accent.
Tempus Fugit line-up consists of André Mello: Keyboards and vocals, Henrique Simões: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, André Ribeiro: Bass, Ary Moura: Drums; with special guest musicians José Roberto Crivanno: Guitars and Pedro Peres: Bass.
The tracks vary in length from about 5 minutes to the two-part 20 minute epic "Chessboard", but for the most part the songs are under 10 minutes and move along at a good clip without any bloated filler. Guitar and keyboard solos are well integrated into the framework of the songs and don't stand apart as an ego-drive showcase for the musician. Henrique Simões guitarwork packs all the technique and emotion into his solos that you come to expect from the likes of Steve Hackett and Camel's Andy Latimer.
In an earlier review I suggested that about 85% of what I review seldom gets much playing time after the reviewing process is over - but with the past three CDs I've reviewed for Prognaut (Mandalaband IV - "AD Sangreal", Seven Steps To The Green Door - "The?Book", and now Tempus Fugit - "Chessboard") that statement has proven itself to be false. These three albums are monopolizing all the playing time at my house!
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on November 17th, 2011