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Temple of Dread - Blood Craving Mantras

Temple of Dread
Blood Craving Mantras
by Jack Harding at 04 September 2019, 7:23 PM

As listeners, very rarely is the creative process actually discussed. Instead, we receive a finished product and judge it thus, never truly comprehending how such a puzzle was created. It is to us, as if the finished record appears from the ether fully formed. Ignored are the hours of refining, rehearsing and production. We see the final diamond, cut, shaped and polished, and act as if this was how it was discovered. Picturing this diamond, “Blood Craving Mantras” is a raw, uncut stone, nestled within rock, dirt and various detritus. At its core, it is fantastic, glimmering and bright, but lacks the perfection and polish that would truly bring out its strengths. These rough edges may put off the listener in search of fully-formed perfection, but if you give TEMPLE OF DREAD your ear, you may end up pleasantly surprised.

Whilst an aimless introductory track “8.16 AM” fails to spark the imagination, TEMPLE OF DREAD have created 7 enjoyable tracks that whilst not reinventing the wheel, happily grip and enthrall. Both “Suffocate The Fire” and “Sentenced To Life” please with their heavily Thrash inspired riffing, and seamless transitions from one riff to the next. “Sentenced To Life” in particular pleases, with its interesting use of dynamics, giving the listener much needed room to breath, without ever relenting too much, so that the barrage of heaviness still looms ever-present. These two songs do raise an issue that the album struggles with however. Whilst the riffs on display are great, there aren’t enough of them to justify the roughly 5 minute run times these songs mostly run. Initially fantastic riffs start to bore as they are played for the hundredth time, and song structures too easily fall into an A/B approach, simply going back and forth from one another. Either more riffs need to be written for each song, or the songs need to be shorter. There is a reason most Thrash songs tap out at the three minute mark after all.

This need for more riffs or shorter songs is obviously something that TEMPLE OF DREAD believe as well, because later songs in the record attempt to rectify this. “Now You Will Die” features some of the most frantic riffing on the entire album, and barely lets up with its aggressive onslaught. The brevity of this track only increases its impact, as no riffs are allowed to become boring, and the lack of dynamic movement never becomes too apparent. As for longer songs, TEMPLE OF DREAD seem to have finally discovered how to compose these longer pieces. Final track “Cottage In The Backyard,” is packed full of great riffs arranged in a sensitive manner that makes the most of these set pieces. A particular highlight is the 2nd verse, which feels incredibly inspired by Doom Metal, allowing the song to calm down, without ever relenting from the heaviness. It is the only song on this record over 3 minutes that I wouldn’t edit down.

TEMPLE OF DREAD definitely have room to grow, but there is such potential in this, their debut record. To dismiss them now, simply for a lack of polish would be downright stupid. Highly enjoyable, “Blood Craving Mantras” is a solid record worth your time, if only to prepare for a superior sophomore effort.

Songwriting: 8/10
Originality: 6/10
Memorability: 7/10
Production: 7/10

3 Star Rating

1. 8.16 AM
2. Suffocate The Fire
3. Sentenced To Life
4. Question Of Honour
5. Now You Will Die
6. Straying The Battlefields
7. Gone But Still Here
8. Cottage In The Backyard
MARKUS BUNNEMEYER - Guitar And Bass Guitar
Record Label: Testimony Records


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