Hot on the heels of 2016’s “From Sands”, Temple Of Lies have wasted no time in taking advantage of the creative juices that have been flowing. Indeed, “The Serial Killer Suite” finds these Leicester lads in quite rude health. I managed to catch them live recently so was pretty chuffed to get my paws on this one to see if that gig energy translated to the new album.

That curiosity was laid to rest very quickly as “Epic Doom” erupts with a super chunky groove. Lyrically it’s a classic, crusty Alice Cooper shock rock themed soundtrack heavied up big time. Thick, doomy riffs alongside some seriously fat bass from Jags are like a magnet and keep pulling you in. Si Shaw’s vocals are completely engaging with a twisted almost demented delivery. This is the entree that prepares for a full on heavy metal feast. Shades of an Orange Goblin stoner influence along with an almost Ben Ward howl underline “Illusion Of Choice”. Shaw comes across as almost a ring master to this unfolding psycho horror circus. The mix is very clean with plenty of space between band members that lets the listener appreciate the elements that make up this developing concept.

There’s nothing one dimensional so far. “Modus Operandi” brings a cleaner set of lungs to the table and along with the generous slabs of groove, there’s a little bit of a Clutch style swagger that creeps in, albeit with a serious punch that compliments a lurking, inner danger element. The sense of a simmering, uncontrolled twist seeps through each of these tracks but there’s minimal subtlety, with a certain bluntness to the subjects on show perhaps best displayed on “I Cut You Bleed” with a tense, early Pearl Jaminess about it. The album’s second half is full of classic stoner metal riff worship from Jon Scranney with a dirty grunge element thrown in. Some of the immediacy of the earlier tracks has faded but there’s no denying the impassioned delivery and the quality of the output. Grittier moments still shine through on the likes of “Teeth” which is a real sludge groover that’s purpose built to lose shit to. Alex Gamble attacks the skins with a grin inducing ferocity and that platform has been a solid constant throughout. These latter songs have a grooving, doom quality that brings to mind Cathedral’s “Carnival Bizarre” and contain a little more oomph than eventual closer “Nihilist Dreams”; however these are minor reflections on what has been an engaging, riffy ride.

Temple Of Lies would seem to be on somewhat of a roll with “The Serial Killer Suite”. They manage to blend some styles here and in the process have created a sound that grabs the attention. This is well worth a listen but definitely catch these songs in a live setting when a gig comes around.

(7/10 Johnny Zed)