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DATE – 20th July 2023

Review by graeme wright

In the last year or so I’d discovered two bands that were completely new to me at the Rebellion venue in Manchester who had absolutely blown me away with their live performances. The bands in question were The Hot One Two from Cambridge and Call Me Amour from the Isle Of Man. Tonight’s main act, The Fallen State had graciously arranged for an amazing four support bands for tonight’s show, so time was understandably tight to give all the bands a fair crack of the whip given that this was almost a mini festival. It was an incredibly strong lineup and I enjoyed all four support artists, but would there be anybody that really stood out for me tonight? The answer was a resounding yes, so it’s time to introduce you to the London-based, Kiwi-infiltrated Prog Rock/Heavy Rock outfit, Temples on Mars.

The intro music began and the band entered the stage with frontman James Donaldson immediately making an impression, prowling the stage confidently while the opening bars to set opener ‘Gods & Kings’ immediately turned heads in the crowd. The first thing to note is that the song sounds a lot heavier live than it does on record and it’s a pitch-perfect start to the proceedings. This is followed by ‘Sleepwalking Into Extinction’ where it becomes apparent that the back line of Daz Karikas (Bass) and Dean Gibb (Drums) is an impressively tight unit and if you add in the excellent sound at this venue I’m already hugely impressed with this band.

‘When Gods Collide’ is up next and builds to a huge chorus, with some fabulous guitar work from a guitarist who doesn’t miss a note all night, Gerald Gill. ‘Daydreamer’ is one of the band’s newer songs, commencing with a heavy electronic opening before hitting us with another big riff and chorus and it’s probably a bit more commercial than the other songs on display tonight. This is another one that sounds very different live compared to the studio version. The crowd are all in with the band at this stage and this continues with the penultimate song ‘Human Fiction’ which is superbly performed by all four band members on the night.

The set closes with the new single ‘Smile’ which will appear on their next album, which will hopefully be with us before the end of the year. This track could be a game-changer for the band if it picks up the airplay it deserves. It’s far more aggressive both lyrically and musically than anything the band have released so far and I’ve had it on repeat play for the last week. It’s a storming track, muscular and powerful and it rattles along at an amazing pace, all the while retaining just a hint of the Prog Rock style of their previous releases. Temple On Mars leaves the stage with a really appreciative reception from the Manchester crowd (which has probably been halved tonight due to another of the never-ending series of rail strikes) and the band members seem really pleased with the applause.

I was highly impressed with these boys from start to finish and told them I would have happily paid to see them headline at this venue. Great show, with great musicians and great songs, can’t wait for the next album.


James Donaldson – Vocals/Guitar

Gerald Gill – Guitar

Daz Carikas – Bass

Dean Gibb – Drums


  1. Intro
  2. Gods And Kings
  3. Sleepwalking Into Extinction
  4. When Gods Collide
  5. Daydreamer
  6. Human Fiction
  7. Smile

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