The band’s third album Relics of Sulphur Salvation was solid, authentic Swedish death metal with chainsaw guitars and a sharp sense of melody.
On this new album the band continue to play the style that made their previous release so enjoyable, only I’d say that overall Temple of Phobos is a little darker and has more of a doom aspect in places than Relics of Sulphur Salvation.
When it manifests, the 90s doom/death part of their sound is quite powerfully done, and when combined with the core of their Swedish death metal it results in an album that makes a very effective first impression, (which is reinforced upon subsequent spins).
In consideration to these doom aspects, it must be said that Vanhelgd still know how to play fast when they feel the need. Unlike some of bands that play the Swedish style, Vanhelgd include blast beats in their brutally ominous assault, and the music would be worse without them.
Choirs and angelic female vocals are also included in select passages and songs, further enhancing the morbid atmospheres created.
The band have once again thrown together all of the requisite parts that make this kind of thing so compelling, and are particularly good at including sinister and macabre melodies that sound quite eerie in the context of the death metal that they’re used in.
The singer shows once more why he made such a good impression with me on their previous album. His growls are very, very satisfyingly performed, and he has enough range to pull off the other vocalisations on here too.
Temple of Phobos is a very strong album with a lot to commend itself. If you like well-written death metal with both atmosphere and heaviness, I’d give this a listen.