Temple of Void perfectly encapsulate the sounds of both old-school European doom metal and equally old-school US death metal. The band’s ability to flawlessly and authentically merge of these two sub-genres together is what made Of Terror and the Supernatural so excellent.
So what of Lords of Death? Well, the first thing I notice is how much shorter the album is, with only six actual songs, (alongside an intro and an interlude). Apart form this though, all doubts are swept away on listening to the intro track The Charnel Unearthing, which is a sub-2 minute song that ably sets the scene; atmospheric and sickeningly heavy, my attention is immediately rapt. When the slowly grinding crush of Wretched Banquet starts after this, I’m completely sold.
Welcome back Temple of Void.
The shorter songs on Lords of Death, and the name of the album too, both hint at the increased amount of death metal content on the band’s second release. Sure, there’s still doom on here, more than enough to satisfy, but this side of the band has taken a slight backseat compared to the band’s debut. Lords of Death has a more direct approach than the band’s first album because of this, with Temple of Void channelling their ugly, brutal side even more than they did previously.
Dark atmospheres and colossal doom-fuelled riffs are both created and thrown around with ease. As I say – there may be a higher death metal influence on this album, but the band still know how to take the best aspects of emotive European doom into their powerful embrace. Gloomy groove and deathly doom has rarely sounded as good as this.
The singer’s voice is hideous, absolutely sickening. I mean that in a good way. Previously to this album he already had a monstrous roar, but something seems to have happened between releases; he sounds utterly inhuman now. This is one of the reasons that the clean vocals on Graven Desires sound so jarring and unexpected, as now we have some human vocals thrown into the mix for the first time. Graven Desires is also notable for being probably the most melodic and atmospheric track on this album too, and these additional vocals merely add to this.
The production levels are a step up this time too; Lords of Death sounds absolutely huge and devastatingly crushing. This could very well be one of the heaviest releases of 2017.
So, is this as good as Of Terror and the Supernatural? Well, it’s hard to say. I’ve had way more time to get to know the band’s debut album and worship at its death/doom altar. After multiple listens to Lords of Death, I’m convinced it’s at least as good as their first release, if not actually a bit better. Only time will tell. All I know for the moment is that Lords of Death is a formidable release from one of the best bands out there. This could very well make it to the highest levels of my end of year best of list once more.
Utterly essential. Get this now.