At first glance, Doom/Death and Detroit Motor City aren’t natural bedfellows. The city, which is close to my heart due to family connections, has a long tradition of great music; from Motown to garage, from Hardcore punk to Techno, a myriad of differing beats and styles have blasted down Gratiot heading to the rest of the world. Temple of Void have bucked previous trends and gone for the slow heavy cacophony beloved fans of My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost.
The vocals are deep and raw, with Mike Erdody sounding like Chris Barnes on the more death metal tracks and Carl McCoy on the doomier. Either way he sounds great with some real gravitas and the low end of his voice compliments the musicianship well.
So, onto the music contained within. Temple of Void have garnered quite a following worldwide and this their third offering will no doubt encourage more into the fold. Their sound is rich and deep with a very clean production which stands out in a metal world filled with dirty distortion.
Opener “A Beast Among Us” is jam packed with huge angular riffs force fed in big chunks with the vocals sounding as though they are being ripped through a glass filled larynx. The track plods menacingly before a complete standstill creates further drama. Things slow further and the Beast from the depths advances by inches. Spine Tingling stuff.
“Self Schism” is a more rocky affair getting a bit of that Six Feet Under covering Mercyful Fate feel but still slowing to a mighty Doom stomp.
Temple of Void are obviously concerned for their listeners and give a chance to decompress a little with the acoustic flamenco instrumental “A Single Obulus” before risking the beds by dropping us back down to the depths with “Leave the Light Behind”.
This track opens with a Woods Of Ypres like piercing guitar refrain and some nice space electronics before getting a big stomping metal riff going. With clean vocals joining the gruff on the chorus. The melody does not detract from the sombre mood and crushing heaviness.
“Casket of Shame” casts off the velvet and lace and replaces it with denim and leather. This is big balls metal. Big death metal riffs and tough guy posturing. It sounds great and fits in well with its more romantic predecessors. The twin guitars of Alex Awn and Don Durr combine well here with chunky riffs and tremolo picked parts. Brent Satterly on bass and Jason Pearce on drums keep things together with a mighty rhythm. For me this is the stand out track on the album and one that would excite a lot of metal heads who don’t normally paddle in the Doom/Death waters. They have some real groove to back up the heaviosity.
The title track brings matters to a close like a dark swirling fog engulfing a small town. Nine and a half minutes of dread and fear put to music that hits like the mercy hammer in Midsommar. The leads pierce the darkness and keep the Paradise Lost Gothic feel going but the track does overstay its welcome a little, but not too much. Like a five-day city break that should have been a long weekend. Even the strong beer and goulash can start to become repetitive after a while.
That being said the twin guitars offer a real METAL feel throughout the album and remind me of a slowed down (very slooooooowed down) Priest at times.
Temple of Void straddle the Doom/Death line better than many I have heard recently and they still acknowledge that they are a metal band first and not just a subgenre. Definitely worth a listen.
(7.5/10 Matt Mason)