Temponaut is a two-piece progressive metalcore outfit hailing from Fredericksburg, Virginia in the US of A. The band, consisting of Brandon Hanks and John Harmon, has been around since 2012. Although displaying their music on a wide variety of platforms, they are a bit of a mystery as they share little info about themselves. One thing I can confirm with full certainty though, is that they recently have released their latest work, which is an EP called Meridian. Being an EP it only contains six songs, spanning a total of about 27 minutes. Well, it’s actually five-and-a-half songs to be more precise, as I don’t consider the intro a full song. So considering the lack of other worthwhile info and while we’re at it anyway, let’s move on to the actual review. Right off the bat let me tell you that you will have to give this a couple of spins to fully appreciate it and discover its full potential. Chances are you will be left confused and in despair after the first turn, but this one will most certainly grow on you.
Anyway, the EP starts with a rather spacey, electronic sounding intro called Buffering that, although realistically not making anyone any the wiser, in retrospect serves as a warning what you are about to encounter. Hence my remark at the start of this review. The first ‘real’ song of the EP, Meridian of Misery, starts in similar fashion, but before long a tight riff takes over giving this, at least for now, a nice death/thrash metal vibe. About a minute into the song the first progressive element, a frolicky keyboard riff breaks the heaviness, pretty much giving us a blueprint of Temponaut’s musical style: Heaviness both interspersed and blended with unexpected tempo- and style changes and the strangest intermezzos that may not always seem logical, but actually, at least in the majority of the cases, contribute to the overall feel of the songs. The drums, the keys and the guitars all follow the unpredictable at times surprising path as they continuously evolve and change direction.
Successor Lockout starts in a completely different style compared to Meridian of Misery before turning into a rhythm that is tough to focus on as it initially sounds as if the guys slapped a bunch of audio tracks together in a rather sloppy, chaotic manner. However it all lines up eventually turning this into a more coherent song especially towards the end. Next up is We Have Our Heading that has an intro that would not be misplaced as a paranormal horror movie sound effect. That, once again, is misleading as the song itself shows no further signs of ominousness. This one too is a nicely varied multi-riff song that, despite its unpredictable composition, inevitably gets you to nod along. The same, save the intro, goes for Forgotten where the drums take their fifteen minutes of fame even more as they dominate the rhythm pretty much the entire song. Album closer The Rudis opens pretty spacey, after which it grows into a true prog metal song that reminds me of prog giants Dream Theater here and there.
Though listed as a progressive metalcore band, I beg to oppose that label, as there is more to their music than that. There’s a multitude of influences that color their tunes. In conclusion it is safe to state that you are not entitled to judge this unless you have given it at least three full spins. It is such a complicated piece of work that it simply requires at least that to be able to form an honest opinion about it. This of course does not apply to the seasoned prog fans who will most likely appreciate this from the start. For all others: once you opened up to it, you will experience its beauty and have a thoroughly good time. Give it an honest chance, chances are you will definitely like it.