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Heavy Temple – Lupi Amoris Award winner

Heavy Temple
Lupi Amoris
by Gary Hernandez at 11 September 2021, 11:15 PM

Within the first seconds of track one, “A Desert through the Trees,” of HEAVY TEMPLE’s debut full-length album, “Lupi Amoris,” you know you’re in for some pure Psych Metal gold. I mean, damn, just damn. This trio hails from the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They formed in 2012 and have two EPs, one split (with Minnesota’s WOLF BLOOD), and as of June 18, 2021, one full-length, to their credit. Since their inception, they have been beset upon by a plague of lineup changes, but this particular installment has been in place since 2019. This album is so good, I think I would be physically hurt if they changed their lineup again. As of January this year, HEAVY TEMPLE has found a home on Magnetic Eye Records, being the label’s first signing for 2021. Hopefully an auspicious portent for both the band and the label.

There is so much to love about this band, from the astral clean singing to the ultra-tight rhythm section to the natural economy and internal consistency you get with a trio to their lyrical intent. I also love their range—this group is as comfortable with the five-minute straight-forward Stoner romp as they are with the nine-minute explorative instrument-heavy/vocal-lite track. Each musician also lays out a stellar performance throughout. Baron Lycan seems like two people—one riff Meister, the other lead virtuoso. Similarly, High Priestess NightHawk is both a devastatingly good bassist and incredible vocalist. Lord Paisley only has one talent, and that is to thoroughly punish his kit in perfect cadence to some freakishly systematic and unerring inner ear rhythm he has going on.

Thematically, the album is all about the fangs and the fur as heavily suggested by the album title (trans: wolves of love) and the album cover which depicts a skinless and naked (waving scarf exempted) female rider aloft a presumably barking wolf. And then there’s the fact that all five songs on the album are wolf related, so yeah, lycanthropian love it is.

The album kicks off with “A Desert through the Trees” which High Priestess NightHawk has said “expresses the desire to find something, or for something to find you. The desert, specifically Joshua Tree, is probably one of my favorite natural environments on the planet, and given the vibe of the song, the title seemed apt.” A quick search on Youtube or a scroll to the bottom of this review will yield the official video to said track.

Standout tracks include “A Desert through the Trees” and “Howling of a Prothalamion” for the Stoner/Psych fans and “Isablella (with Unrelenting Fangs)” for the Prog-leaning fans. (“Prothalamion,” btw, is a song or poem celebrating a forthcoming wedding. Thank you, internet.) “The Wolf” is a down-tuned, blues-infused number for all the Doom fans out there. And then there’s “The Maiden” which is a musically brilliant Cosmic Doom rant with screaming solos that will make your soul as well as your ears ache, but in a good way. If you’re counting, that’s all five tracks denoted as standouts, making this entire album an 11 on a scale of one to ten.

In summary: HEAVY TEMPLE, OMG. Buy it, love it, live it. Then head to bandcamp and rinse and repeat on their entire catalogue. Then go out to your nearest desert or swamp and erect your own temple of immense gravitational proportions and commence the worship.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Track listing:
1.  A Desert Through the Trees
2.  The Wolf
3.  The Maiden
4.  Isabella (With Unrelenting Fangs)
5.  Howling of a Prothalamion
Baron Lycan – Drums
Lord Paisley – Guitars
High Priestess NightHawk – Bass, vocals
Record Label: Magnetic Eye Records


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Edited 27 January 2023

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