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Tempestarii - Temple of Skies

Temple of Skies
by Chris Hawkins at 12 March 2019, 9:03 AM

TEMPESTARII is a term used in the folklore of the Middle Ages to describe sorcerers living amongst the common folk who were able to conjure or prevent feats of weather.  This is actually, in my opinion, a fantastic name for a band, particularly one with the mystique such as this.  There is little information to be found about the band.  What is known is it is based out of Boise, Idaho and one Christian Creek, bass player, is the only person listed as a member.  “Temple of Skies” is the band’s debut full-length that was released back in 2017 and has now been reissued on digipak via Mercenary Musik.  The most apt description of the band’s music would be to categorize them as Atmospheric Black Metal; however, the boundaries upon creativity are virtually nonexistent.

The album opens with “Holy Dread” in which a gorgeously-strummed, bright acoustic guitar is playing some evocative, resonating chords.  In the background is the effect of wind blowing along with other various sounds including electric guitar playing faintly dissonant lines underneath.  the effect is both huge and unique, certainly setting the mood for the ensuing journey.  Soon, the full band (or instrumentation considering only one member is listed) appears with a suffocating wall of Black Metal-styled tremolo picking, blasting, and bleak-sounding vocals.  While there are other bands who play this style, TEMPESTARII manages to create an exclusive singular-focused sound.  The way conflict and resolution are portrayed through various melodic lines within the Black Metal deluge is nothing short of inspiring.  When the tempo slows in the latter part of the song, the sound is beyond majestic with lines of somber grief drawn by guitar leads and subtle feedback.  My thoughts turn to the pinnacle album “Eternity” by ANATHEMA in the way feeling and emotion are conveyed with such gargantuan guitar parts layered.

Throughout the album, there is the effect of different sections coming into being, like colossal waves, the unexpected type that knock a person down, potentially pulling them out to sea.  Everything just sounds BIG.  The next quiet moment is the beginning of the third track, “Shroud of Horns”.  Delicate clean chords are repeated and soon the innocent mantra is overtaken by a blitzkrieg of distortion and blasting.  The riffs penetrate like jagged lightning through the nighttime sky, illuminating their surroundings in the process.  Changes flow effortlessly as the music rolls on, and all the while, the feeling of drowning in it all is difficult to withstand.  Music should make one feel, as should all true art, and TEMPESTARII succeed in that regard.  The transition to the fourth track, “Gold Lattice,” is flawless.  It begins with a solid groove played at half the speed of the previous composition.  Hearing the music translate well between various tempos serves as a testament to the underlying creativity and stark resonance.

It must finally be noted that the entire album seems to be building upon itself up to the last track, “Neurosis”.  This is beyond doubt the pinnacle moment of the album.  All of the band’s gifts, talents, techniques are on display throughout the near-twelve-minute-long song.  Of particular note is the use of deadly sharp diminished chords to conjure a chokingly bleak atmosphere.  Alongside eventual major-key passages, these chords help to complete the canvas upon which the song is painted.

Some of the bands (I will refrain from name-dropping) that stand out as commercial leaders in the genre should take notes whilst listening to this album for there is a lot to learn from.  This is not an album to pop in for one or two songs while getting dressed to go to work.  One must allocate an hour to be able to appreciate the music.  After all, would you watch two scenes of a movie just for fun?  Surely, some do, but one cannot imbibe a Kubrick film as such.  “Temple of Skies” is the very definition of Atmospheric Black Metal, an overwhelming tug of war between sonic bliss and discomfort.

Songwriting:  9
Originality:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  7

4 Star Rating

1. Holy Dread
2. Gaian Mind
3. Shroud of Horns
4. Gold Lattice
5. Neurosis

Christian Creek:  Bass

Record Label: Mercenary Musik


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