New Band Of The Week: Temples On Mars

Temples On Mars
Temples On Mars: standing out, the no-longer-secret Agent

“The best-laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.” So says that book that we all had to read in GCSE English. This sentiment applies to London’s latest melodic outfit Temples On Mars, whose new, self-titled album was originally conceived as one called Suicide By Tiger, slated to be released in 2017 by a band called Agent.

“We decided that as it was the first Temples On Mars album, we would treat this as a new band,” frontman James Donaldson explains of his group and album’s synchronous retitle. “Having a self-titled debut, it basically defines the band, and from there you can go on and tweak and define your sound.”

“With the new band, we wanted it all to be one product: this is us!” drummer Dean Gibb chimes in. “Everything’s just defined by ‘Temples On Mars’.”

The new name seems to already be opening up avenues that the more generic “Agent” was never able to.

At the top of that list of newfound opportunities comes their recent signing to Primordial Records after many months of searching for a place to call home.

“We had a few comments from some labels, and the new name just stands out,” James continues. “On Google, if you typed in ‘Agent’, you’d get so many things like real estate and modelling agents. We thought ‘This isn’t working for us’; we needed to stand out!”

And, already, stand out is precisely what Temples On Mars are doing: their more unique title effortlessly reflects their equally unique tunes. Their debut disc is an extravaganza of exploration and catchiness, described by the band themselves as “accessible, progressive rock with an underlying, heavy tone.”

“There’s some Queens Of The Stone Age, some Bring Me The Horizon, some Tool, some Tears For Fears,” James lists off, before Dean summarises by adding: “We didn’t wanna pigeonhole a fanbase. It can be accessed by fans of any genre.”

Temples On Mars’s self-professed accessibility rears its head as their anthemic songs stick to easy-to-digest, rock’n’roll structures. But that fact doesn’t dampen the number of exciting dynamics the group possess; their record is one full of attention-grabbingly avant-garde moments, from wacky time signatures to bass leads to saxophone solos. Dean calls making the album a “very thought-out process,” stating that: “We’d have a song that, potentially, could end up on the album, but then we’d be pending with it for a while, adding layers until you listen to what could have been the finished article the first time after three or four weeks of tweaking, and there’s suddenly a completely different element to it.”

“It’s not Nickelback,” laughs James. “We have put in some ambient instrumentation that suits the soundscape. And I think one of the songs is in 94 time. That’s the first time we’ve ever done that.”

Knowing when to stay safe and when to go balls-to-the-wall, Temples On Mars are all set to conquer a melodic prog scene that’s currently spelling success for names like Tesseract and Sleep Token. Keep an eye on them.

Temples On Mars is out April 6 via Primordial Records.

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Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.