At this point, it’s no longer a hot take to say that nerd culture has gotten out of hand. I imagine in thousands of years when the Earth starts to resemble Mars, the only remaining trace of human life will be an open grave of deep-cut Funko Pops. That being said, I am a huge nerd, and if you are reading this, you probably are too. There’s still a ton of good work being created in the realm of dorkdom if you know where to look. One example of that is the latest album from French melodic death metallers Temnein, whose new album Tales: Of Humanity And Greed draws inspiration from everything spanning ancient mythology to the Legend of Zelda.
Though the vocals are all growled, the album still leans heavily into melody. The guitar leads are true earworms, which becomes apparent with the first two full tracks “The Blind and The Greedy” and “The Knotted Bag”. The band employs other types of guitar hooks elsewhere, like the hammer-ons of “A Few Drops of Blood”. The leads and riffs are righteous enough that you won’t mind them subletting a space in your head for days on end.
Temnein aren’t shy with their clean guitars either, as several songs have these beautiful, glistening intros. If anything, Tales: Of Humanity And Greed is proof that the band has many arrows in their quiver. “I Am Davy Jones” is the most ethereal, sullen track, while “Yuki Onna” is the most dissonant. The aforementioned “A Few Drops of Blood” has tasty grooves that would pair well with those of fellow French countrymen Gojira. All of the tracks offer something different, but they all still sound like Temnein.
While I’m generally on board with what the band is doing here, there are a few moments where they lose me. The intro track starts great, reminding me of Deadhead, but the whole “gather ’round children, let me tell you a story” schtick ruins it. The main issue with the album though is it’s staying power. At 52 minutes, the album isn’t insanely long, but it does drag a bit. There’s no one song that particularly weighs things down, but most songs could stand to be shaved down by a minute. Some of the clean and solo sections feel a bit tedious after a while. And finally, there are too many fadeouts (see: “The Blind and The Greedy”, “Dirge for Termina”, “Yuki Onna”), a disappointing production fad that should have left with the 80’s.
Gripes aside, Tales: Of Humanity And Greed is still an enjoyable listen. From watching the band’s music videos it seems like they had a ton of fun with this album, and if you’re a nerd like me, you’ll probably have fun with it too.
Temnein’s new album Tales: Of Humanity And Greed is out this Friday (5/22) via Blood Blast.
Best Tracks: Rise of the Sontarans, I Am Davy Jones, The Blind and The Greedy, A Few Drops of Blood
Weakest Tracks: The Storyteller, Dirge for Termina
FFO: Opeth, Wilderun, Eternal Storm
Overall Score: B-