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Human Temple: Halfway to Heartache

After Insomnia (2004) and Murder of Crows (2010) Finland's Human Temple return with their third effort Halfway to Heartache and by Jove to these ears it's their best yet. Halfway to Heartache is chock full of top notch melodic rock songs designed to put a smile on the face of any listener even "Misery" is upbeat in an uplifting kind of way. With a line up consisting of Janne Hurme : Lead Vocals, Risto Tuominen : guitars, Kalle Saarinen: drums, Jori Tojander : Keyboards and Harri Kinnunen: bass, Human Temple have made an album which sets the bar high for melodic rock in 2012. They are aided and abetted in this by the guitar presence of Emppu Vuorinen from Nightwish.

There is an awful lot to enjoy on Halfway to Heartache from the opening of "I Will Follow" which sounds as if it is going to rock in a much more metallic way than it actually does thanks to an initial riff which reminded me of "THE Wicker Man" by Iron Maiden. Human Temple never really stray into metal territory and keep it much more in the AOR vein with plenty of keyboards from the aforementioned Jori Tojander belying the 1980's influence the band makes no bones about telling the world about. "She Talks to Angels" is what would have been the ballad which took them into the charts back in the day and there is a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Little Lies" which I initially disliked as there was obviously no backing vocals courtesy of Lindsey Buckingham but over time I have come to really enjoy it especially the bit where Janne Hurme exercises his death metal growl.

Speaking of Janne Hurme he most certainly has a little of Sonata Arctica's Tony Kakko about his voice and some (not me) may find his accent a little difficult. On a personal note it would be particularly wonderful if Hurme could actually release something from his rather excellent Dream Asylum project.

Track Listing:

  1. I will follow
  2. Bleeding through
  3. Like a beat of a heart
  4. Our world our time
  5. Almost there
  6. Run away
  7. Little lies
  8. Because of you
  9. Misery
  10. Some things are never long time ago
  11. She talks to angels

Added: February 2nd 2012
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 2691
Language: english

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Human Temple: Halfway to Heartache
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-02-02 16:49:51
My Score:

Over the past couple of weeks I've read quite a few interesting little descriptions of the Human Temple sound, including the one above from my colleague Simon Bray - the reason that I downloaded a review copy to find out for myself. While I obviously found those thoughts interesting, my first impression when I listened to Halfway To Heartache for myself, was that of Tyketto meeting Brother Firetribe, with the odd surprising nod towards Iron Maiden. An impression I've stuck with. Yes, I know, that sounds a little odd, bizarre even. However there's no denying that Human Temple have a few spiralling riffs ala Smith, Murray and Gers, but they also have the more obvious parping keyboards, slick vocals and jangly guitar breaks that Melodic Rock fans crave. More importantly they manage to bring it all together neatly, creating an album that is almost instantly familiar, although in a way that has you singing along, rather than losing interest.

Singer Janne Hurme has a big slice of Danny Vaughn about him, with a sparkly clear voice, which he (sometimes over) augments with a fair dollop of vibrato. However there's no doubt that he is a more than capable singer and one with the ability to handle the various styles that this album throws up. That said the main driving force behind the Human Temple sound are keyboard player Jori Tojander and guitarist Risto Touminen, who between them weave the mixture of strident riffs and slick melodies that interchange across this album.

The almost obligatory "atmospheric" beginning to the album rushes from the speakers, all crashing cymbals, wailing guitars and keyboard stabs, before an air-raid siren heralds a foot on the monitor like riff, that oddly - but rather pleasingly - makes way for an altogether more Melodic Rock slab of guitars. The two themes rampage a refined battle for supremacy as the song plays out, however the more commercial sheen to the vocals means that the smoother side is always destined to triumph, something an ever so slightly plonky and parpy keyboard solo only confirms. From there the likes of "Our World Our Time" and "Run Away" really let the slick side of Human Temple shine, while "Misery", with its lyrical nod towards Guns & Roses still offers a harder edge.

Any review of this album needs to touch on the cover version of the Fleetwood Mac smash "Little Lies", which while reasonably true to the original, does add a more Metallic edge and the merest hint of a growled vocal to the mix. Now I have to admit I love it, however having played it to numerous people over the past couple of weeks, opinions on this song have been decidedly mixed, with some loving and some hating it. Either way it is a good bit of fun.

More likely to appeal to the Melodic Rockers than the Metal Heads, Human Temple have created an album that will still touch base with both camps, even if the more committed to the Metal cause may not openly admit it!

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