Dead Temple
Cult of Acid

Beginning with a warped, psychedelic drug manifesto in the form of instrumental phasing and back-masking, Colorado doom metallers Dead Temple make their intent clear from the very first notes on opener “Shadow of a Thousand Faces.”  The band’s deadly twin guitar attack creates some elements of old school metal akin to Maiden, Priest, Lizzy and more recently Christian Mistress but each song is crammed with dark occult vibes, dirt-caked downtuned riffage and a sinewy rhythmic blues that puts the band in line with Pentagram, Sabbath and Witch Mountain.  Despite all the gloom and satanic imagery, Dead Temple conjures up a sound that really moves mountains thanks to its telekinetic power where each instrumentalist is locked onto their brothers and sisters.

The aforementioned lead in cut is packed from head to toe with riffs that really get on the hustle whenever they’re not sinking into a quicksand pit of sucking sonic groove.  The duo of Jade Morgan and Gianni keep the riffage rife with powerhouse double-stacked riffs and catchy harmonies that have a serious knack for the old school.  Drummer Tyler Wielgosz is a lot busier than he has any right to be; sticking to headmaster strict rock beats whenever Morgan’s catapulting vocals are the center of the show and driving hard on the snare fill cum tom roll transitions whenever the riffs are peddling a harder, uglier plunge.  Nick Olson’s bass holds it all together with liberal sniffs of the Elmer’s glue bottle for maximum cohesiveness and a little dementia on the side.  While this is hardly anything we haven’t heard before, it’s easily as good as anybody else doing it right now.  The extra kick is in the songwriting which crafts numerous poignant vocal melodies with some killer two-part and three-part harmonies really hammering the point home.

“White Devil’s” intro riff is a descending chord doozy that would have Bobby Liebling sneering and stroking his mustache in devilish delight.  The low-end lays down a prominent groove that doesn’t get pushed out by the guitars with props due to a natural, organic production job placing emphasis on each piece of the band’s sound.  Sometimes the guitars drop out entirely leaving the bass to build the groove, setting the stage for dusky riffs to return and hang you at the gallows whenever dawn cracks its first light.  A rushing, percussive thrust piles on the metal when “Temptress” comes barreling into the fray.  Tyler uses both hands and feet to create a vintage metal polyrhythm that sets the stage for a fuzzy, blood-drooling groove in the key of “Fast” Eddie.  They wire their metallic explosives to a C-4 doom bomb that sounds like Pentagram’s Relentless with a stronger grip of studio bells and whistles.  Don’t mistake that sentiment for Dead Temple pushing a slick or overproduced sound for they give you the clarity and the filth in an equally balanced fistful.  The chorus is a real arena shaker with Jade giving it all she’s got and this song even features a tasteful, skirt lifting solo lick perfectly suited to the frenetic mayhem going on.  Thanks to some killer tempo mastery, the band knows when to lay off the throttle and settle into a bludgeoning doom riff that’s stuffed to the gills with Pentagram’s blues-based incantations.

Thrashing riff builds and palm-muted madness give “Black Death” an aggro bent right off the bat.  This is unadulterated doom set to an up-tempo 70s metal swing.  They drop the groove down into some cutthroat, sludgy churns where every chord drips with blues and the fills lean towards the extra beats and complexity of Ward’s seminal work with the Birmingham bruisers.  A couple of the sections even charge forth with a sort of double-bass pummeling, though I think Tyler’s work is all done with a single pedal…somebody correct if I’m wrong.  Monstrous, deep dipping Maryland doom grooves spill out over the top of the cup in the song’s second half and the vocals turn into a multi-tracked, messianic cacophony of harmonized melodies, manic speaking and other forms of oblique narration.  An atmospheric riff sets off “Sisterhood of the Snake,” giving way to a restrained open groove that places emphasis on the vocals.  There’s another chorus to die for here and it’s buttressed by pillars of marble-hewn doom riffage, Eastern guitar/sitar FX and effortless, jazzy drum fill/roll shake-ups.  Olson’s bass plunges and lunges like a beast with blood on its mind and its only goal to open up your throat.  Slightly more uplifting than its predecessors in terms of the aridness of the arrangements and limber grooves, “Loved by Death” reminds me of smooth Ohio classic doomers Abdullah, and that’s a good fuckin’ thing indeed.  This is classic rock with just enough metal overload to really put you down on the ground and kick another hole in your ass.

Easily the album’s heaviest track “Virgin Blood” digs its claws into a stinkin’ sludgy chord progression that blacks the sun right out of the sky.  Eventually exclamatory vocal proclamations, crying blues riffs with big bent chords and locomotive rhythms provide a bit of breathing room, but this motherfucker isn’t afraid to get a damn mean knuckledrag going even during its catchiest moments.  The title track finds Morgan reading a Morrison-esque poem obsessed with the occult over a pounding beat and sparse riffs.  She receives support from vocalists Olivia Stone and Nadia Kontogiannis, who are actually staples of the entire recording, but here they have the most impact.  Once the atmosphere is properly put in context, the mescaline-dosed bluesy riffs duel with nuclear classic metal playing which lands this tune smack dab between Pentagram and Priest.  The track ends with the dirtiest, doom-fucked riff on the entire album; a real son of a bitch that’s sure to drive you into the tomb.  Closer “Hestia’s Hymn” makes the most of a lengthy acoustic beginning, flirting with country, blues and folk influences.  This track pours on the lysergia and psychedelia with distant tones and trippy vocals cutting through smoky doom riffs.  It’s a track that manages to evoke heaviness without actually being all that heavy, although the band plays hard throughout.

Dead Temple is damn good and this is a great album.  They’ve got something else going on that sets them apart from a large influx of doom bands with lady singers.  Their whole vibe really puts you in a mood, which made me refrain from calling too much attention to the female aspect of the band until the outro paragraph.  Don’t judge Cult of Acid against the work of peer bands but rather weigh it as a work unto itself.  This is a fuckin’ airtight, rock solid album with killer writing, playing, arranging and production.  They’ve really got it going on and any fans of doom and old school classic metal should give it a check and hopefully a pick-up!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
January 11th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Dana Deadly

    Magically masterful and heavy CD! Love the CULT OF ACID By Dead Temple! I’m a believer!


  2. Commented by: Jay

    Glad you’re a believer Dana! This band made one out of me. Thanks for the comment! Keep it heavy as fuck.


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