The first proper album from Heavy Temple sees the Philadelphia power trio in a rather interesting position. Aside from featuring a new lineup of players behind bassist/vocalist High Priestess Nighthawk, Lupi Amoris (Magnetic Eye Records) doesn’t seem too different from the two EPs released before it. It isn’t that much longer than those EPs, consisting of five tracks totaling thirty-three minutes long, and is executed in a similarly free-flowing Heavy Psych style.
However, the musicianship immediately stands out from its predecessors as the performances here come with considerably more gumption. The bass often establishes the pacing with solidly anchored lines and the vocals consist of ethereal howls above it all, allowing the other two to go crazy in between. The guitars provide a mix of weighted rhythms and extensively psychedelic leads while the drums put in some extra hustle along with some looser patterns. It certainly feels like their heaviest iteration, even if it still draws from the same template.
This loose-heavy approach also plays out in the songwriting. The structures are quite jam-oriented as just about every track features some sort of extended introduction, culminating in “Howling Of A Prothalamion” closing the album as a full instrumental. It makes for a cohesive whole though I must admit that individual tracks are a little trickier to feel out. “A Desert Through The Trees” does start things off with some of that hustle early on while “The Wolf” and “Isabella (With Unrelenting Fangs)” make the most of those tripped-out textures, but the bookending synth sounds on “Howling Of A Prothalamion” help it stand out the most.
True to the aspiration of reaching their first full-length after years of development, Lupi Amoris is the best representation of Heavy Temple’s Heavy Psych sound so far. While the trio’s songwriting may still need a little more finetuning to really pop, the performances’ increased power carries the songs quite nicely. I would’ve loved to see the band follow the more Traditional Doom-style that High Priestess Nighthawk brought to her Woman Of Doom contribution last year, but this should sit well with fans of Ruby The Hatchet and Howling Giant.
Buy the album here: http://lnk.spkr.media/heavy-temple-lupi-amoris
7 / 10