Temptress – See (Metal Assault Records)Monday, 6th March 2023
See is the debut album for Texas three-piece Temptress, in the making since late 2019 and finally arriving on the marketplace. Completing the album in late 2021, they would sign with Metal Assault the following summer – garnering attention with some live show action with artists like Black Tusk, Royal Thunder, and Heavy Temple to name a few. This power trio lineup combines elements of doom, sludge, and stoner styles over the course of these six tracks – providing not only a great mix of diversity as far as sound, but also exploring compact as well as epic arrangements.
Groove/hook combinations serve as the foundation that allows guitarist Kelsey Wilson’s voice to slither in, around, and over the wall of crunch or fuzzy tones – given a boost with background harmonies from bassist Christian Wright and drummer Andi Cuba. The low-fi overdrive nuances to “Into My Soul” make this an early album favorite, the simple yet effective chorus reverberating at all the key points, the longer instrumental sequence that kicks in a transitional mood shift around the four-minute mark could galvanize doom heads before soothing ‘ooh’s’ bring the almost ten-minute track to a calmer, firm conclusion. The shortest song “Cry” hits a focused sweet spot at 4:21, Kelsey using a mix of slower, clean guitar lines and Sabbath-esque meets stoner riffs while the rhythm section hits that slow stride of sturdiness that steers the sonic ship in swinging glory. Hi-hat/guitar syncopation allows the lower register melodies to punctuate a magnetic presence on closer “Hopeless”, the occasional strained nature to specific trailing notes certain to provide that raw charm most love about sludge, doom, and stoner heavy music. 44 minutes later, See maintains that ‘just enough’ timeframe that should keep listeners returning for more.
The colorful cover art beyond the seasoned production values Wo Fat guitarist Kent Stump pushes See into solid ground for Temptress as their first full-length. You can feel the smokey vibes, as these musicians lock onto slow riffs that build into adequate payoffs – all that anyone could ever desire as a band building an underground following.