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106 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paid in Blood
After a few listens, 'Tempest' is starting to reveal itself as a more coherent and considered album than anything Dylan has come up with for decades. Thematically, its overarching concern is man's troubled journey towards oblivion. Yes, it's a 'death' album, but it's also a much more creative and poetic response to the theme than the doomy grumbling on 1997's 'Time Out...
Published on 10 Sep 2012 by Rough Diamond

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...but I'll keep trying
After reading previews and reviews of this album I was really looking forward to hearing it. I have really enjoyed some of the great man's later stuff......but not this. To me it seems dull and uninventive musically and lyrically with nothing (yet) that I would want to go back to repeatedly. But some of the reviews here say that it is a grower, and some are rapturous, so...
Published on 14 Oct 2012 by K. Lewis


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106 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paid in Blood, 10 Sep 2012
By 
Rough Diamond (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tempest (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
After a few listens, 'Tempest' is starting to reveal itself as a more coherent and considered album than anything Dylan has come up with for decades. Thematically, its overarching concern is man's troubled journey towards oblivion. Yes, it's a 'death' album, but it's also a much more creative and poetic response to the theme than the doomy grumbling on 1997's 'Time Out of Mind'.

The obvious metaphor for our journey towards nemesis is the Titanic's doomed voyage on the title track, and this track is certainly the lynch-pin that holds the album together. But the Titanic's is not the only fatal Atlantic crossing on the album. 'Roll On John' ruminates on John Lennon's ill-fated passage across the sea from England; likewise in 'Narrow Way' the British cross the sea to inflict a "bleeding wound" on Washington by burning down the White House (a bleeding wound that is recalled by Leo's bleeding arm in 'Tempest'). There are other journeys too, similarly heading towards disaster. The Boss in 'Tin Angel' travels out to surprise his wife in flagrente, only for all three of the love-triangle to end up dead. Even the jaunty 'Duquesne Whistle' is from a train that's "on its final run", and whose eponymous whistle makes a sound as though "the sky's gonna blow apart" - just like "the universe opening wide" on 'Tempest' as the ship begins to sink. All through the album, Dylan seems to take grim delight in reminding us that we're all holding a one way ticket and, like the captain of the Titanic, when we stare the compass in the face, "the needle is pointing down". The agents of death are often occluded. There's no iceberg mentioned in the title song; likewise there's no namecheck for Chapman in 'Roll on John'. On 'Tempest', its seems, it's doom alone that counts.

If that's not enough bad news, Dylan has even colder comfort for us. The pleasures of the flesh are fleeting, transient, and maybe not really pleasures at all. 'Scarlet Town', with its "flat chested junkie whores", is a red-light district straight out of the mind of Hieronymous Bosch. 'Pay in Blood' has Dylan making love to "a bitch and a hag"; 'Long and Wasted Years' writes off the comfort of long-term relationships ("so much for tears, so much for these long and wasted years"), while the genuinely sexy sex that's hinted at in 'Tin Angel' ends in an inevitable bloodbath. In fact, transactional sex is quite a preoccupation on this album (too much life on the road, Bob?). We meet Charlotte the Harlot in 'Soon After Midniight' and Davy the brothel-keeper and his girls are among the Titanic's victims in 'Tempest'. "You may say I'm a pimp .. but I'm not", Bob reminds us on 'Duquesne Whistle'. But human blood will have its way: "I'm going to have to bury my head between your breasts", Dylan leers lasciviouly on 'Narrow Way'. 'Soon After Midnight' seems more romantic at first listen ("I've got a date with the fairy queen"), but it's maybe even darker. Who exactly is the narrator meant to be? Maybe there's a clue in 'Tempest', where "the veil was torn asunder between the hours of 12 and 1" - soon after midnight, in other words. Maybe the narrator on 'Soon After Midnight' is the Grim Reaper himself?

If there's no redemption in love and sex, it seems there's nothing for it for us poor mortals but to brutalise and violate each other while we make our brief voyage aboard the Ship of Fools. The many images on 'Tempest' of "brother turning against brother" are repeated in the scenes of violence and bloodletting that permeate the whole album. It's completely the Hobbes vision of man's life: nasty, brutish and short. Meanwhile political elites from the Early Roman Kings down through to the Sicilian Mafia are busy "pumping out the piss". Dylan's cynicism, contempt and despair for the world seem bottomless. Even God's will appears fathomless and arbitrary: "there is no understanding for the judgement of God's hand". "The angels turn aside" from the reaper's work on the Titanic, and in 'Pay in Blood' even death washes its hands of mankind.

The emptiness is endless? Maybe not. Bob has commented in interviews that he originally wanted to make a religious album, and maybe nested inside 'Tempest' there's still a hope of Christian salvation for the doomed of the world. There's certainly plenty of bread and wine scattered through the lyrics, not to mention blood and water. And ultimately perhaps it's only the blood of Christ that can redeem mankind from the apocalyptic horrors of the world, which 'Tempest' enumerates with such grim relish. Maybe that's why the narrator of 'Pay In Blood' is so cocksure and confident and he surveys the valley of death: his sins have already been redeemed by Jesus' ultimate sacrifice. He pays in blood, but not his own.

Of course, I could be barking up all sorts of wrong trees here. But that's half the fun of having a new Dylan album to grapple with. And, by any measure, 'Tempest' is a fine late-Dylan album. It stands shoulder to shoulder with 'Modern Times' and "Love and Theft" as a career-enhancing piece of work. It's extraordinary that Dylan is still creating at all in 2012. It's beyond extraordinary that he's still producing work of this calibre. Roll on, Bob!
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93 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bob Dylan - "Hell is empty and all the devils are here"., 10 Sep 2012
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Tempest (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
Of the accumulated reviews of this new Bob Dylan album its difficult to find one that has not referenced that "Tempest" shares its name with Shakespeare's final play. With the great man into his 70's is the master musician leaving yet another tell tale sign? Let us exhort that this is not the case for on this form you can only plead that long may he run. Whatever Dylan's intentions the title is accurately appropriate since " Tempest" is a dark and often stormy affair notably containing a 14 minute and 45 verses long title song dedicated to the sinking of the Titanic where Dylan throws in some of his most vivid images, torrid tales and pale sorrow not least a Captain who "In the dark illumination, he remembered bygone years/He read the Book of Revelation, filled his cup with tears". It is wordplay of the highest order and actually names check Leonard DiCaprio to bring it all up to date.

The album kicks off with "Duqunese Whistle" sounding like a track from a honky tonk jukebox until Dylan's voice kicks in and commences an excellent railroad song which skips along at a fair old pace as the stations pass by. The lovely country lament "Soon after midnight" follows, so effortless and yet so right. The mood changes quickly for the near eight minute long "Narrow Way" a barbed electric guitar piece which rocks hard enough to performed in garages across the US. Dylan's last proper studio album was "Together through life" in 2009 (let us forget his yuletide abomination in that same year) and that suffered from serious sagging in the mid section (a problem for all men of a certain age). "Tempest" is closer to "Modern times" in this respect since every song fits and it's a solid set not least the excellent trilogy of songs from four to six. This comprises Dylan at his most reflective in the superb "Long and Wasted Years" where the master lyricist concludes that "we cried on that cold and frosty morn/we cried because our souls were torn so much for tears/so much for these long and wasted years". He is at his snarling best in the belligerent "Pay in blood" where his excellent road band provide great support. He also appears to tip a nod to Gillian Welch in "Scarlet town" which appears a distant cousin of the song on "The Harrow and Harvest". It's a great Dylan performance with that old gravelly voice sounding as vital as ever and strong to boot. Next up Muddy Waters "Mannish Boy" provides the backdrop to "Early Roman Kings" with a great David Hidalgo cantina-blues accordion providing the necessary earthy accompaniment. Dylan has always specialised in songs where vengeance is the unifying theme and "Tin Angel" couldn't be further removed from the Joni Mitchell love song of the same name sounding more like a Nick Cave murder ballad with its gory bloodshot finale. Having mentioned the albums huge "Titanic" narrative leaves us finally to touch on "Roll on John" a seven minute tribute to John Lennon starting with his assassination, referencing the Quarrymen, Hamburg and various sources of Beatles legend not least part of the lyric of "A day in the life". At this point it is this reviewers least favourite song on "Tempest" since if it wasn't composed by any one other than Dylan it could sound somewhat gauche and overtly sentimental. It is certainly does not match Paul Simon's "The Late great Johnny Ace" but it's a tender recognition of an old friend and proves that Dylan can be sweet hearted and nostalgic when needed.

This is Dylan's 35th studio album and stands as a firm equal to "Love and Theft" as his best album of the 21st century. We have no right to expect albums this good after all this time and the fact that he continues to confound, puzzle and challenge should be cause for rejoicing. 2012 looks like being the year of the veteran with great albums by Dr John, Paul Buchanan, Bill Fay and Leonard Cohen. And yet amongst all this excellence "Tempest" confirms Dylan's rightful pole position as the greatest storyteller in rock history
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roll on, Zimmy! (His best since at least '78), 11 Sep 2012
By 
Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tempest (Deluxe) (Audio CD)
Only 48 hours since I got my mitts on it and I've already played Tempest through at least two dozen, magnificent, times. Both nights so far I've stayed up late, into the small hours, just to hear it once more before bed! I simply don't feel compelled to do that kind of thing with records by anyone else... which surely says more than any review can. Some people, here and elsewhere (see Alexis Petridis' review in the Guardian) have decried the already growing conventional critical wisdom that says Tempest stands comparison to some of Dylan's finest work. I say they're contrary for the sake of it and, for once, the conventional wisdom is dead right. Ok, in the grand scheme of Bob Cats I'm in the lower-leagues, but I've still heard 95% of everything he's done and am familiar enough with the official output to try and weigh up Tempest relative to what's come before. And I REALLY struggled to think when he last made a better album. In fact, I traced straight back to Time Out Of Mind, a great record and a close run thing but initial impressions are that this is the superior album. Oh Mercy (1989)? A personal favourite, but Tempest has the edge. In the end, I went back to Street Legal (1978) and got stuck, but that's probably got more to do with my own disproportionate affection for that particular LP. In any case, my way of thinking is that Tempest is Dylan's best album in at least thirty years, which sounds quite ludicrously hyperbolic given the calibre of what he's done in that time... but there you have it, that's my opinion. The critics are all going predictably nutzoid in full, analytic detail so I'll spare you any song-by-song breakdown save for saying that, for me, "Long And Wasted Years" (a bitter little song about a dead marriage) is the best of the shorter tracks here and "Tin Angel" is the cream of the five songs which exceed the 7 min. mark (this one being particularly chock-full of classic Dylan symbolism and hidden meanings). But the glorious truth of the matter is that each and every song here is extremely strong and not once have I found myself skipping forward. Which is a rare thing in itself. Conversely, what I have done -and this is surely one of those unofficial acid tests of a record's greatness- is find myself falling so immediately head-over-heels for a song after just one listen that as soon as it's ended I've hit repeat... and then I do it again, and again until its seared into my brain within only 2 days of owning the record. Very seldom indeed does that happen, but here it's true of about half the songs, which is just nuts. A final point about the voice... I remember with Love & Theft my dad joking that Dylan's voice was now "just phlegm". Well, it's sooooo much phlegmier now. But I can't help but just totally love it. I think I like it better than when he actually had an unspoiled larynx. It suits these latterday songs so well - all wry and world-weary. And when on "Long And Wasted Years" he sings: "What you doing out there in the sun anyway/Don't you know the sun can burn your brains right out?" he delivers that line like ... I dunno.... a 100 year old rattlesnake, and it's just... perfect. Oh boy, what a record!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tempest is a brilliant collection of performances., 12 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
This is Bob Dylan at his near best. I was worried that his voice may have suffered further decline but he is still a great singer. The only song that has too much gravel on the voice is the superb opening song "Duquense Whistle". Overall , he can still interpret a song like no one else...the wonderful phrasing,the different accents,the feeling,expression,aliveness and the way in which he can go from a whisper to a bark. There is not a weak song on the album and it has the major songs:"Pay In Blood","Scarlet Town","Tin Angel", "Tempest" and " Roll On John". Dylan is totally engaged on these 10 songs and there is a compelling and remorseless mood created throughout.Every song carves out it's own unique musical territory and the wordplay is effortlessly brilliant. The band are excellent throughout from the marvellous, irresistable looping "Duquense Whistle" to the delicate beauty of "Soon After Midnight", the unrelenting driving guitar riff on "Narrow Way", the burning, in-your-face guitar led "Long And Wasted Years",the piano rolling groove on "Pay in Blood", the dreamy musical wash of "Scarlet Town", the dirty blues driven "Early Roman Kings ", the tolling bell beat of "Tin Angel", the waltz, merry-go-round sound of "Tempest" and the riveting,stately beauty of the magical last song "Roll On John".

Great Dylan to me is in the combination of the words, music and, most importantly, his voice. A voice without restraint. Thankfully, he remains a great and unique singer.

"They waited at the landing and they tried to understand
But there is no understanding for the judgement of God's hand".

"They chirp and they chatter,what does it matter
They're lying and dying in their blood
Two timing slim, whose ever heard of him
I'll drag his corpse through the mud".

Indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. best for years, 19 Jan 2013
By 
Derek Rogerson (Plymouth UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
Bob seems to have regained his voice of the old days. Best CD for years, I can not think of anything bad could be said about this CD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the decade!, 16 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
Was here when rock n' roll was born but never owned a Dylan album till now. Can't stop playing it. The songs are simple but brilliantly produced. The man's a genius. You've gotta buy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTER OF POETRY WITH LYRICS TO DIE FOR, 6 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. Ralph E. Terry "Corrs Kopite" (Portsmouth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
If not a Dylan fan and you stumbled on this album, you'd be most surprised how brilliant it is. As a Dylan fan, I know how great he is but this is his best album for a while. From playing for the first listen , this album just sucks you in and takes you on a journey that is a brilliant ride. Nobodyelse, and I mean nobody, can write such descriptive lyrics. They are classics - whitty, thought provoking, melancholy and uplifting. A must for every Dylan fan and for the first-timer, go on give it a try - you won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An other masterpiece from the master, 3 Dec 2012
This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
On first hearing the opening track, I thought Dylan had gone all bluegrass and in my view this is probably the weaker track but that is being really picky about a cd crammed full of killer guitar rifts, wonderful melodies, killer lyrics and one liners all sung with a voice that sounds as though it has been matured in a Jack Daniels whiskey barrel and which Dylan has tailored perfectly to suit his material. And to cap it off a classic Dylan 14 minute story about the Titanic sung in waltz time filled with characters. And that's even before mentioning the 7 minute Scarlet Town. Wonderful!!.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby's Back, 18 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Tempest (Audio CD)
Without a doubt his best for 10-12 years. His voice may be going but that matters little when the calibre of music is as high as this. Long may he croak if he turns out quality like this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan back on form, 8 Nov 2012
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This is a must for Dylan fans. A return to the Dylan poetry/ music of old but new material.wonderful! Unexpected and all the better for it!
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Tempest
Tempest by Bob Dylan
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