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Shapeshifter


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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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listen10. Cruel Brother10:04Album Only

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Shapeshifter + 10th Anniversary Compilation + Double Cross
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 20, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Magna Carta
  • ASIN: B00008YJDI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,791 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Review

Played with fire and panache Shapeshifter is a splendid additon to the folk-rock canon. -- Len Holton, KUAR Radio Little Rock, AR, June 2003

the band does indeed shift shape, breaking out from the Celtic ghetto, while rocking as hard as ever. -- Chris Nickson, All Music Guide, June 2003

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Tempest is a celtic-folk-rock band that reminds me of Fairport Convention in its heyday. This is their tenth CD, but the first with this line-up.
The CD has cohesiveness, despite several different styles of music. The band really plays as a true ensemble, with leads being shared by the 3 lead instruments (guitar, fiddle, mandolin). It seems like the band has made a conscious effort to get closer to their live sound than previous releases, and this is an excellent decision.
After listening several times I realized that I didn't notice the rhythm section. The reason being that the drums (Adolfo Lazo) and bass (Mark Skowronek) play exactly perfectly for each song. Both play interesting parts that never "stand out" because of inappropriateness or over playing. The rhythm section is superb (and I'm a guitarist, so I very seldom give praise to a rhythm section). Adolfo continues to be the heartbeat of the Tempest sound while never getting repetitive or boring.
Sue Draheim's fiddle has a very warm and rich sound (production by Robert Berry) that just highlights her beautiful playing. Sue really gets to the heart of the song with her playing and makes the melodies come alive, without overpowering the band. It sounds like Sue used an acoustic violin rather than her electric violin, this really adds to the harmonic resonance, and gives it a depth and warmth.
Ronan Carroll is the newest member of the band, and an excellent guitarist. Based on this recording, you would think he'd been in the band for years. His playing varies nicely from melodic and mellow to almost heavy metal sound. Like all members of Tempest, his playing fits the songs exactly as needed without overplaying.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. H. Wagner on September 1, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Tempest expertly infuses ballads and reels with rock, giving traditional folk music a new energy as well as contributing some original pieces that are equally timeless. I like this album even better than their last (titled "Balance"). Though each track is distinct and stands well on its own, they all complement one another and play almost seamlessly as a whole. Maybe I'm partial since I first heard Tempest live as the current ensemble of musicians, but I think newcomer violinist Sue Draheim's harmony vocals add a sweet texture the previous album did not have. Then again, there's just something about the female voice in general that gives authenticity to the emotional layer in folk ballads. At any rate, having seen some of Tempest's live performances, I can attest that all of its current members are highly talented and treat the craft of blending folk and rock with a professionalism that is entirely trustworthy. Listening to this album is like gathering around a home fire and being entertained by a captivating storyteller. Definitely worth hearing...again and again.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bogubundus2 on September 17, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is a really decent step back in the right direction for Tempest. This is vast improvement over Tempest's previous effort "Balance", which would have more appropriately been titled "Out of Balance." That album was all over the board: sloppy, inconsistent production, a mediocre selection of songs, and a sound that could best be described as a failed attempt at annoying, abrasive, harsh heavy metal. In contrast, on the much less pretentious and showy "Shapeshifer" Tempest does not try to be something it is not. Here Tempest accepts itself for what it is, which is a very good folk-rock band, not a heavy metal band. The entire group is in a comfortable, relaxed groove here. This is a true composite of Tempest's sound through the years. It sounds like a combination of early, pre-Magna-Carta-era Tempest and Turn of the Wheel/Gravel Walk, but without all the bombast of those two recordings. Sue Draheim's fiddle playing is smooth and polished, and while it lacks the raw energy of the long-departed Michael Mullin, it adds a warm character to the sound. Sue's vocals provide a nice counterpoint to Leif's vocals, lending a new twist to the Tempest sound. The players all complement each other beautifully without any one member sounding like he or she is trying to show off. In short, all the problems of the previous release "Balance" have been corrected; the production is crisp, smooth and consistent; the annoying harsh, abrasive metal sound has been abandoned; and the selection of songs is much better. Overall, this return to the classic Tempest sound is a fine effort from the band. If you are a Tempest fan, particularly of their early pre-Magna-Carta-era stuff, you will enjoy this very much.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
All I can say is wow. I thought that no album could out do their 1995 release "Turn of the Wheel", but Shapeshifter is in the running.
Enjoy it loudly.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Megan Romer on December 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This band is great for people who don't know anything about folk music. Use it to introduce your indie-rock friends to folk music. However, if you're a true folk fan, you're going to be mighty disappointed.

There are a few essential things that would make this album (and this band) better. First of all, generally speaking, fiddles should be kept in tune. It doesn't have to be a standard tuning, it can be an odd cross-tuning, but any sort of tuning at all would certainly help out. Sounds, er, obvious, huh? Well, explain that to these guys.

Secondly, it makes for a nice change when songs sound different from each other. Tempo-wise, tuning-wise, rhythm-wise.... it doesn't really matter, but a little variety is nice. These guys don't seem to have that figured out either.

This album (and band) makes a relatively cheesy attempt to make folk cool, but they fail miserably. Do yourself a favor and grab an album by The Horseflies, The Duhks, Donna the Buffalo, The Red Stick Ramblers, The Mammals, or any one of the other great "new trad" bands out there.
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