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Temple Of Void – Summoning The Slayer Award winner

Temple Of Void
Summoning The Slayer
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 20 June 2022, 5:02 AM

TEMPLE OF VOID is a death/doom band from Detroit who formed in 2013.  "Summoning The Slayer" is their fourth full length album; they have also released one demo and two splits. By now fans know what to expect with a TEMPLE OF VOID album…or do they? Their latest opus sees the band expanding on their sound and stretching out the dynamics within that sound. Don't let that despair you. Every thing that makes them great is still intact: buzz saw riffs that are as heavy as they are slow, deep, cold gutturals that are among the best in modern doom, and a rhythm section that could hold up a mountain.

However, other elements make their well managed integration into what is already a sterling example of extreme metal composition.  There is more use of melody, albeit in a much darker tone than what most would consider when thinking of the word.  A lot of Gothic textures ride the undercurrent that remind me of doom metal along the lines of PARADISE LOST or MY DYING BRIDE.  The album’s overall atmosphere, while still brutal in a death metal way, is much more dismal and dark.  Their previous album, “The World That Was,” had some experimentation and I suppose that is the album where they really started to grow but now they more fully embrace these ideas with who they really are as a band.  Does it work though?  For the most part, yes.

The final track, “Dissolution,” does come out of left field–the entire song is clean, both in instrumentation and vocals.  While I do enjoy the song, it is rather out of place so it was a good idea to place it at the end of album.  If it were in the beginning, the album would start out on the wrong foot and if it were placed anywhere else, the flow would absolutely be killed.  With the song placed at the end, the band gives us six huge tracks of death/doom then a respite from it all.  But is a rest needed?  Do fans of this style really want a break from it?  That is up for each individual to decide. But I personally love the hazy, trippy and stoned out vibe of the track.  Do I want a whole album like this from them?  Of course not.  But for what it is, I really enjoyed it.  I’m hoping for the next  album they better incorporate the style of this song into their death/doom.

The first track, “Behind The Eye,” begins with a tenacious build up before a hearty riff begins the hammering down of doom. Mike Erdody’s death vocals are so ridiculously awesome—he sounds like some kind of ghostly apparition reaching out from beyond the grave.  I mean, I’ve never heard that before but if I did, it would sound like him. Around the 2:51 mark, Alex and Don’s guitar drops some of that dark, gothic style melody and it makes the song all the better for it.  But I love how Brent and Jason just keep on with the rhythm, providing a foundation that always keeps the band grounded to their roots no matter what they do.

I believe “Deathtouch,” was the first song released for the album and that was a good choice.  It shows off the overall style of the album, a great introduction of what to expect.  The opening moments are entrancing, a perfect combination of aggression outlined with atmosphere.  The core of the song is focused on thick, doom riddled death metal but it is held together by deeper ideas and lush tones that really bring it all together.  The later half of the song pulverizes and is scary as hell but smoothly transitions to a cold, ethereal mix. “Engulfed,” is framed by a steady rhythm but soon introduces harrowing screams that kind of twist the mind until it snaps. The bass in particular is a standout, warping yet guiding the track to its destinations, which is a somewhat tripped out mid section that cascades into a melodic rain that further washes into heavier waters.

A Sequence Of Rot,” is placed roughly at the halfway point of the album and it brings in more immediate aggression than the other songs.   At this point, fans that have enjoyed what they heard so far won’t be bothered by this song and others that are still on the fence will be pulled in for sure.  The vocals and rhythm work so well together, lending the song a nice little groove yet a cavernous feel. The ending in particular is raucous and when it suddenly stops, I was just kinda of stunned from the death metal punch to the face. “Hex, Curse, & Conjuration,” takes the heaviness of the previous album and throws it into a blender of speed and death. This song rages, ignoring their doom side until a little over halfway when those slow riffs hit but they are still as intense as what comes before.  From here until the end, the song is a death doom dirge and among the best moments on the album.

The Transcending Horror,” reminds me of “Deathtouch,” in the sense that is encompasses the overall tone of the album.  This one is one of my favorites—it has that slow, grinding death/doom guitar and bass combo that is tried and true but never gets old.  The clean guitar that appears in between the heavier parts give the song a ghostly, otherworldly feel. With “Summoning The Slayer,”  TEMPLE OF VOID step into the next phase of their doomy death march. It is a welcome advancement I really feel like the next album has the possibility of truly putting them on that next level.  I cannot wait.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Behind The Eye
2. Deathtouch
3. Engulfed
4. A Sequence of Rot
5. Hex, Curse, & Conjuration
6. The Transcending Horror
7. Dissolution
Lineup:
Brent Satterly – Bass
Jason Pearce – Drums
Alex Awn – Guitars
Mike Erdody – Vocals
Don Dubrr – Guitars
Record Label: Relapse Records
     


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