Spire – Temple of Khronos (Review)

Spire - Temple of KhronosThis is the second album from Australian black metal act Spire.

Temple of Khronos offers a dark mix of atmospheric, progressive, and psychedelic black metal. It’s as if the classic style that we know and love has been mutated and warped into something even darker and more malefic.

The howling intensity of the band’s blackened fury should not be underestimated. Like a maelstrom of corruption and poisoned teeth, Temple of Khronos is unnatural and unhealthy. Despite this, should you get caught in its relentless path, and should you survive, it’s an experience you’ll savour.

The music is evocative and multifaceted, blending its various component parts together to create a monstrous album that sounds like a glimpse into the underworld. The songs are crafted from living darkness and given form by masters of their sophisticated nightmarish art.

Light and shade are both harnessed by the band in service of their harrowing and esoteric vision. Post-blackened texture and nuanced, intricate depth greatly enhance the breadth and range of the music, without detracting from its core malevolent aggression. Twisted melodies sparkle and fade like dying suns. Colouring the music like daemonic expressions of brand new colours, these unearthly melodies lend the music a mesmerising sheen that you can’t look too long or too closely at, lest you be lost forever.

The well-crafted nightmarescapes that infest this album like unholy wounds would be notable enough if they had traditional black metal vocals incorporated into them. Spire, however, go a step further than this. Several steps further, in fact. The vocals are diverse and frequently layered, more so than you usually find on an album like this. You can name almost any sort of extreme metal vocal style and you’ll likely find it on Temple of Kronos somewhere. Cleans, chants, shouts, roars, bellows, screams, and all manner of other vocalisations happen across the album. I’m assuming it’s the work of just one of the two band members, but even if they both contribute, it’s still extremely impressive. It is striking to hear a band that have clearly put as much thought and work into the vocal performances as they have done with the rest of the music.

Temple of Khronos is an accomplished album that may have a terrifying heart of malignant darkness, but is still worth taking the time to explore nonetheless.

Essential listening for acolytes of the dark, blackened arts.

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