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Temple of Void - The World That Was Award winner

Temple of Void
The World That Was
by Chris Hawkins at 18 February 2020, 7:51 PM

One thing is certain:  A LOT of people are hyped for the new TEMPLE OF VOID.  There is no doubt TEMPLE OF VOID are one of the bands at the forefront of the Death/Doom genre and even in a season full of competing releases, “The World That Was” is an album that is sure to stand out.  Having seen them live around two years ago, I can vouch for the band’s ability to pull off a viscerally absorbing show that highlights how despite how heavy the record material is, the sound is always more three-dimensional in the live setting.  After listening to this third-full-length numerous times now, I’m confident in saying that this is their best material yet, bold words, I know.  The music speaks for itself.

For the uninitiated, TEMPLE OF VOID play a style that can be accurately labeled Death/Doom, but it really is so much more.  Sure, it’s low and slow, but not ridiculously so.  Perhaps it would be best described owing more to an intelligent blend of PARADISE LOST and ASPHYX than say, GRIEF.  One important distinction, though, to make is that it is a sound that favors the primacy of Metal.

TEMPLE OF VOID have created an album full of songs that can all stand on their own and each has its own surreal vibe and atmosphere.  The production contained within highlights a girth-filled chugging guitar sound that does justice to the material.  It is a tone that is certainly more Death Metal than Doom with no Big Muff pedal in sight.  With even the new OZZY single featuring a fuzz guitar sound now, it is refreshing to hear a band unafraid to embrace a more modern, crushingly heavy guitar sound.  Vocally, it is a solid performance with excellent articulation and presence.  The rhythm section is a closely locked unit that keeps things moving and accentuating certain phrases with a unique style and momentum.  I focused on those aspects of the band first because as we dive into the songs themselves, there will be a lot of attention placed upon the guitars.

The first track, “A Beast Among Us,” is very much on par with previous recordings.  Uncompromising, relentless Death/Doom, it is a style that TEMPLE OF VOID has managed to perfect over the last seven or so years.  The track starts a precedent for the album with its interplay between softer melodic clean parts and absolutely crushing chords which seem to growl forever sounding even better and better as the harmonic frequencies do their dance alternating between feedback and the intended chord.  It is the PARADISE LOST formula refined with a bit more experimentation thrown in.

Self-Schism” is a much stouter offering with a mean disposition.  The chorus is a resounding convergence of riffs, simply huge sounding.  The plodding palm-muted riffs with sorrowful, weeping harmonies over top are a rallying cry for devotees to this style.  The middle interlude gives the song an extra breath and it fills the room with an eerily haunting desperation that can be felt.  The low guitar bends over the militant chunky rhythm is like a penetrating howl, feral amidst the darkness.

After “A Self Obolus” and its brief, melodically rich and fulfilling interlude of classical nylon string guitar, “Leave the Light Behind” follows with what is possibly the catchiest track on the album.  Aided by synth effects that are tastefully placed with in a huge, “Gothic-Icon”-era guitar approach, the clean vocals of the chorus are pulled off well with the result being a heaviness that is in no way lessened.  The following song, “Casket of Shame,” is certainly the most Metal with a much more aggressive stance.  Of course, this is all put into the context of TEMPLE OF VOID and the band even goes into a brilliant tremolo-picked section.  Such diversity is aptly explored by a band willing to have two guitarists with two independent voices.  When the parts are joined, that is when the magic happens.

I don’t usually go into detail about five of the six songs on an album, but this is a special case.  This record is a statement.  There is a certain groove the band has managed to learn how to bottle up and market and it is on full display in many different angles throughout the album.  What is the most marked success of this album is the fact that it could only come from TEMPLE OF VOID.  This is a band that has finely developed a monolithic, devastating, yet chilling sound that stays with the listener long after.  The songs are more than memorable, truly epic and urgent.  “The World That Was” is clearly an essential album of 2020!  (By the way, probably because the album won’t be out for another five or six weeks, there is no new track on You Tube for me to link, so I’ll provide a track from the last record so that people who haven’t heard the band can get an idea of what they sound like)

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. A Beast Among Us
2. Self-Schism
3. A Single Obolus
4. Leave the Light Behind
5. Casket of Shame
6. The World That Was
Brent Satterly - Bass
Jason Pearce – Drums
Alex Awn - Guitars
Mike Erdody – Vocals
Don Durr – Guitars
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records


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