Temple of Void
Summoning the Slayer

Detroit’s death/doom mongers Temple of Void has parlayed 3 solid albums (notably the last 2 efforts,  2017s Lords of Death and 2020s The World That Was on Shadow Kingdom Records) into a deal with heavyweight label Relapse Records. And as you’d expect on a jump to the ‘majors’, the band has upped the ante, but still kept their thunderous death/doom lopes intact.

The first thing you’ll notice is the massive new production that behooves a ‘major’ label jump. Arthur Rizk, responsible for some of the heftiest shit around (Xibalba, Primitive Man), has rendered a huge sound, in particular a drum sound that you feel in the back of your neck. And that means the band’s lumbering riffs hit harder, and boy do they. Just go to the start of the opener “Behind the Eye or the third track “Engulfed”….oooooof that’s heavy.

Also with that production comes a ‘cleaner’, sharper delivery and more expansive sense of songwriting. You still get those lumbering, doomy grooves, but there’s a sense of layered melody and development that reminds me of transitional Paradise Lost right after Lost Paradise and Gothic, where they were ‘cleaner’ but still sort of heavy.  Fear not though, with no mopey croons, this is still for the ‘growler’ crowd. And they are still definitely monstrous death-doom masters like Malignant Altar, Hooded Menace and such.

Again, I’ll refer to standout “Engulfed” for reference that mixes this cleaner, more precise heft, and a little more mature moodiness. Heck, go to “A Sequence of Rot” as well,  that’s prime Gregor Mackintosh lead work right there. And listen to the mid-paced trundle and ‘chorus’ of “Deathtouch” and tell me that’s not Shades of God era Paradise Lost, just way heavier. “The Transcending Horror” leans a little harder into the more pure doom, dirgey side of things if you want that as well

That said, these guys can turn on the no-frills, death/doom brutality pretty easily as heard on the album’s shortest cut, “Hex, Curse, & Conjuration”, just to remind you how gnarly they can be, and they haven’t gone soft, despite the best efforts of pointless closer “Dissolution” ….and I thought the weird clean vocals from prior albums were done away with… luckily it’s a short acoustic, album outro of sorts.

Ultimately, Summong the Slayer is still what you want and expect from Temple of Void in album number 4, and comes with a nice new shiny gloss, while still retaining their monolithic core death/doom sound.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 30th, 2022


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