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Blight - Temple of Wounds Award winner

Temple of Wounds
by Chris Hawkins at 17 June 2020, 5:11 PM

Prior to this album, I had never heard BLIGHT nor had I heard of them.  this is one time where I'll admit to being ignorant for they are Canada's best kept secret.  Forming a dozen years ago, "Temple of Wounds" is actually the band's debut full-length.  Although they are technically considered Black Metal, they have an extremely liberal interpretation that rewards free thought.

The first thing I noticed listening to the album was the extremely raw, visceral, and malignant guitar tone, one that could be likened to an aural meat grinder violently churning out uniform vessels of carnivorous delight.  There is a very open-armed approach from a tonal point of view that fully embraces free expression plucked from the depths of a most blackened heart.  The first track is titled "Dar-Akh-Qayin" and as previously mentioned, spares no expense in terms of tenacity and tensity.  There is a rich texture to the guitar, an authenticity burgeoned from an all-out aural assault of blazing, sharpened dismal six string fury.  Imagine "Rebel Extravaganza"-era SATYRICON meets a more modern, punchy, mid-heavy swagger.
"Elsewhere_Elsewhen" follows and is absolutely devastating.  With a smothering sense of fury, the main riff has a drone-meets-Hardcore appeal.  It is mesmerizing!  At approximately the 3:23 mark, a furious Black Metal approach is an effective crescendo to an already punishing song.  What makes the music truly make such an indelible mark is its ability to convene around parts, the band's sense of leaning on each other is apparent and shows how great ideas are made epic.  Centered, focused, and articulate is the name of the game here as the band create a truly unique sound, born of Black Metal spite yet sharpened with a nod to greats as diverse as DANZIG, ISIS, and MORBID ANGEL.

The third track, "Kingship," is the final entry in an opening trio of songs that represent what is quite possibly the most rapacious offering this year.  The riffs have that balance of simplicity a la Tom Warrior and more daring ventures cultivated from a heavy dose of second wave Black Metal.  The breakdown at the end - well, the two-part breakdown, that is - an absolutely voracious display of ingenuity, an unholy mandate brokered with the dark lord.  "Before the Monolith" follows and is the assurance that this record is a supremely moody affair.  After a somber if not despondent beginning, the chorus really opens up with a naked, primal scream.  The groove conjured here is sure to satisfy any fan of classic Extreme Metal moments like "Wolverine Blues," "Heartwork," and "Soulless".  When things get more somber, there is a heavy Goth vibe echoing the brilliant first two MOONSPELL albums.  Clean vocals against a raw, grinding later riff seal the deal with a thick, moody depth.

BLIGHT benefits from a wide-eyed respect for those that paved the way for them.  Like an Olympic torch-runner, they have taken their stride for their turn, and therefore do echo moments of the past.  In the way these songs live and breathe, though, they could belong to no other band despite how many influences I've named throughout.  It is a unique recipe with a bit of a Black Metal base, some groove thrown in, dark moods, and many, many surprises along the way.  This is one of these bands that, like THE ATLAS MOTH, for example, are simply way ahead of the pack in terms of the breath of fresh, clean air they bring to the scene.  The productions focuses on a visceral guitar sound anchored by an abrasive machine-like rhythm section.  The bass has that slightly dirty sound that blends so well on darker material like this.  That the singer can nail both the harsh vocals and the occasional clean vocal is a true testament to his range and value to this band.  Collectively, they were able to achieve an expansive, hypnotic sound in the studio, one that enhances their gifts and allows the songs to truly resonate with the listener.

Overall, this was one very exciting album.  things had seemingly gotten a bit stale for a while though I'm sure the pandemic has affected the release of many albums.  This is one album that is not to be missed.  BLIGHT conjure Black Metal mysticism through honest hymns aided by lofty ideas and a willingness to truly stand out.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1. Dar-Akh-Qayin
2. Elsewhere_Elsewhen
3. Kingship
4. Before the Monolith
5. A Violent Light
6. The Aurous Nescience
7. Palish-I
8. Scrying the Iosis
9. We Left of Our Own Volition
G. McCaughry - Vocals
Cedric Deschamps - Bass
Rob Lapalme - Drums
Pascal Pelletier - Guitars
Record Label: Svart Records


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