TempleHailing from Detroit, death metal doomster’s Temple of Void bring a despair filled heavy offering full of atmosphere and intensity to the altar for their debut. Made up of members from Acid Witch and Hellmouth, this 51 minute long slice of death metal played at the pace of a doom band really does crush everything in its path.

Opening up with “Embalmers Art”, the unique sound is clear right from the first note. The intensity of the death metal approach gets your attention, but the slower pace just makes it seem that much more intense. The death metal vocals add to this sinister sound and as the song slows down to a more doom friendly pace, it just becomes one huge crushing sound. There is a really evil sounding lead section round 4:20 into the song which adds to the intensity and this continues through to the end of the track.”Savage Howl” pretty much starts off from where the previous track left off. Another fast paced burst of intense death metal/black metal similar to that of Tombs. This progresses on before slowing down into a mammoth-sounding chug section for the verses with teasing lead riffs building the mood. The slowing in pace with the lead melody and vocals really works well as it slips into the crushing chug sections and the harsh vocals just wrap it all up nicely, in that soul destroying kind of way. The breakdown section round 3:40 has some fantastic tension building to it and a great headbanging groove to boot also, all in all, it’s a great track!

“Beyond the Ultimate” starts off slower and with a massive roar from the vocalist over a slowed down death metal riff. Keeping with the headbanging groove, it’s hard not to nod along in time to it. The slow pace of the song just drags you along with it and all the while it teases at breaking free, but never quite managing to. The most it gives is a haunting lead section halfway through and then another one round 4 minutes in which tears into a sinister sounding guitar solo with some great harmony parts. “Invocation of Demise” kicks in with another huge wall of sound. The buzzing guitars slowly roll through the intro before a tribal styled drum beat kicks in, almost like a marching rhythm in parts. As the song progresses, some synth effects come into play, adding a new level to the soundscape created so far and it adds an interesting touch. Round 5 minutes in, the pace picks up with a slow paced, Entombed sounding riffing underneath some eerie sounding leads. The pace picks up again as the drums speed up and the guitars and bass slow down as the tension builds before it finally unleashes itself in another lead break before the faster paced section wraps the track up.

“To Carry this Corpse Evermore” starts off the second half of the album. Its haunting acoustic intro makes for a welcome break from the crushing intensity of the first four tracks, but as its layered guitars create a dark sounding atmosphere you just get the feeling something big is coming. The song teases like this right through, fading out then coming back once more, each time leaving you waiting for the dirt to kick in.”Rot In Solitude” kicks it to life. The intro sounds like a slowed down Death riff. Precise, harmony-filled and evil sounding, it continues as the vocals kick in and the bass and drums follow a ‘stomp’ styled rhythm. The song continues like this with the lead taking on subtle twists and turns to keep the variety whilst the rhythm drones on, keeping the evil flowing. The lead section near the end of the song works well over the thunderous rhythm and helps wrap it up nicely as it slowly fades out with a clean section. “Exanimate Gaze” starts with a thick distorted riff which gives way to a deep bassline and haunting lead guitar melody over it. As the vocal roar kicks the track in, the guitars chug away as the thundering bass drives the song along. It’s got a great doomy feel to it, but with all the intensity of a melodic death metal epic. The pounding approach keeps up till halfway through the song when some stoner-doom riffs kick in, but the best moment of the track comes two thirds of the way in when the guitar breaks for the lead. This drives the song into life with more pounding bass, chugging guitars and upbeat drums. It’s a great way to end the song and it builds up perfectly for the final track.

“Bargain in Death” starts off with a real doomy vibe to it, in a kind of Sabbath meets death metal style way. The structured riffs give way to a full on chugging rhythm, punctuated by the odd short note sequences just to keep the groove interesting. The titanic groove carries on as it whips up a wall of intensity with the vocals and the crushing guitars which just keeps going. Round 4 minutes into the song, the pace slows down again as the Sabbath styled riffing returns with added harmonics just to give it that edge. The slow pace continues with some riffs and lead sections layered in for mood building and it soon fades into a bass-heavy section which is backed by some samples and synths to build the mood. As the song hits the 7-minute mark, the intense guitars come back with a dark sounding lead section which lasts for the remainder of the track. All in all, this 10-minute colossus is a fine way to end the album!

In all, this debut offering from Temple of Void is great. It’s got atmosphere, intensity and much like the Tombs album I reviewed earlier in the year (Savage Gold) it has that uncanny ability to suck all hope out of the room and leave you with an overwhelming sense of despair. Its work a listen regardless of whether you like death metal or doom metal!

(7/10 Fraggle)