Temple of Void
Lords of Death

Feel the crushing groove…FEEL IT!

I think I may have gotten a tad bit obsessed with Detroit, Michigan’s Temple of Void. At the very least, I feel the onset of becoming a huge fan of the group taking hold. Seriously, a mere four weeks is what separates the first time I stumbled across Temple of Void‘s debut, Of Terror and the Supernatural,  and the time of this review being penned for their just recently released follow up, Lords of Death. In that short twenty-eight days I have soaked up the sounds of the band’s two albums quite thoroughly, and I am confident when I say  that Temple of Void is easily, one of the best bands to emerge out of the extreme metal world in the last five years, if not much longer, truthfully speaking.

Melding the influential might of Hooded Menace with the crushing heft of Vore and the tendencies for an emotive beatdown à la old school Paradise Lost and Opeth with some truly ominous death metal backbone driving it all, T.O.V. can go toe to toe with any of the classics of this style. Wave upon wave of crushing riffs cascade upon the listener, pummeling with a doom tinged death groove that never really lets one catch a full breath before being slammed ruthlessly and mercilessly, over and over again, with the fury of Cthulhu itself, rising from the depths of the sunken, nightmarish corpse city, R’lyeh. Many bands have used Lovecraft’s vision or influence in their material or imagery, and though T.O.V. is not really that type of band, their sound, for me personally, conjures up cyclopean imagery and architecture of horribly incredulous and maddening proportions and possibilities of Lovecraftian lore. Just being in its presence is enough to drive one insane, swallowing one’s being, as well as one’s consciousness. Good stuff…

In all seriousness though, Lords of Death is just a fantastic album. There’s not a single track that will leave you disappointed, okay, maybe the acoustic interlude, “An Ominous Journey”, but that’s just because it’s over so quickly, leaving you wanting just a bit more.  Whether it’s a “Wretched Banquet” and its pulverizing crush, set on the destruction of  your perception of heavy, and its wonderful vibe of Paradise Lost that closes it all out, or the simple obliterating rhythms of “Deceiver in the Shadows”, flattening like a steamroller, even culling, ever so slightly, from the pool of Morbid Angel, you will be chuffed. Just the huge riffs of “A Watery Internment” alone should be enough to win one over for life. The song achieves a hefty groove that so few can with this kind of aplomb, reminding me of mix of Bolt Thrower, Vore, and Alchemist.

Album highlight and my personal favorite, “Graven Desires”, is stunningly powerful and quite unlike the album’s other tracks in its annihilative onslaught. Beginning with a more chilly, ominous tone in the guitar work, while the bass just pulses and pounds in perfect display, the song moves to achieve a stellar Paradise Lost/(old) Katatonia emotive vibe mixed into their oppressive crush. Everything comes together in a downtrodden, yet upbeat, eerie eclectic way. Depressive and bleakly heavy, and dare I say, the album’s most accessible track. The 5:20 mark brings in some clean vocals that work marvelously amidst the commanding riffs and driving rhythms, eventually closing out the track in the same ominous vibe it began with. At first listen, I wondered why the band didn’t employ more of these cleaner vocals throughout Lords of Death, as opposed to just this one track. Though with repeated listenings, it becomes clear that the less is more approach to these clean vocals makes them so much more intriguing and powerful.

It’s almost hard to believe that a band only releasing their sophomore effort can sound this mature, but their debut, Of Terror and the Supernatural, was just as punishingly impressive and “seasoned veteran” sounding as well; though their debut was damn near an hour in length and much more doom prevalent, as opposed to Lords of Death‘s shorter running time and more death domination. The mix and production of the album is superb. Every instrument contains such heft and clarity and none of them step on each other in the slightest way, this includes Mike Erdody’s massive gutturals. The man’s vocals meld perfectly with the material, and though they may not be the most varied, they’re exactly what T.O.V.  needs in a vocalist. Wrap everything up in some fantastic artwork courtesy of the talented Paolo Girardi, and Lords of Death becomes a serious contender for album of the year.

Seriously, the authoritative might of Lords of Death is phenomenal. Every song is an absolute crusher, (a word I’ve probably never used so much as in relation to something, as I have in describing T.O.V.). Every track full of heartfelt heaviness. Every player coming together perfectly to create not just an album, but an identity. An Identity that is not just powerful, but meaningful. Temple of Void doesn’t just convey the essence of death metal, they are the essence. From the opening moments to the closing, Lords of Death rains immense earthly dirges upon the listener, laying waste as if gravity itself had set its destructive force upon you, pressing you into oblivion, and much like Giles Corey, who was put to death during the Salem Witch trials by peine forte et dure, or “crushing”, your ultimate and only response will be “more weight”.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
September 22nd, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    This is good shit. Those clean vocals, tho….didnt fit IMO


  2. Commented by: Red

    I gotta admit, when I first heard the clean vocals I was a bit caught off guard; kind of like when I heard Tales from a Thousand Lakes for the first time, but I really took a liking to them.


  3. Commented by: AR

    Holy moly, mother of church! Talk about HEAVY. I love it.


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