‘80’s style hair metal refuses to die. Do a Google search for any famous (or semi-famous, for that matter) hair band, and chances are they’re still around, plugging away on the club or festival circuit with one or two original members. So what’s one to make of Tempt, a band that has that ‘80’s pop/hair metal sound down so pat it’s as if Under My Skin was recorded in 1988, sealed in a time capsule and just rediscovered? Five stars, two thumbs up, a rousing “hell yeah!” However you want to measure it, the EP is a masterpiece of songwriting, musicianship and production.
Tempt is fronted not by aging rockers determined to make a last stand, but–both impressive and intriguing at the same time–a pair of 19-year-olds: Zach Allen (vocals) and Harrison Marcello (guitars, keyboards, vocals). The rhythm section is Zac Gross (bass, vocals) and Jimmi Kane (drums).
If this collection is an authentic slice of big hair and tight spandex, one of the reasons is uber-producer Michael Wagener, who’s name is almost synonymous with the genre. Wagener (Dokken, Skid Row, White Lion, Poison, Great White, and many others) is a master of producing, recording and mixing bands of this type. Under My Skin bears his trademark of the big, multitrack vocal choruses that sound almost angelic.
The title track was chosen for the single for good reason: Crunchy rhythm guitars, irresistible hook of a vocal melody line for the chorus and a soaring lead guitar break. Use It Or Lose It continues in that hard rocking vein, while The Fight is an arena-rock anthem with a killer guitar solo and a sing-along chorus. Time Won’t Heal is a power ballad right out of the MTV playbook back when MTV loved to play power ballads from hard rock bands.
Whether you’ve heard it all before or are hearing it for the first time, whether you’re a youngster just cutting your teeth on hard rock or an aging, balding rocker looking for a little nostalgia, Tempt’s debut EP will rock your socks off. And there’s more to come–later this year the band will release a full-length album. Screamer had the privilege of previewing the entire album, and there’s some amazing, amazing stuff that will be arriving this fall.