Originally released last year on truer-than-thou label Iron Bonehead Productions on 12” vinyl, multi-national three-piece Sepulchral Temple evidently thought their debut self-titled EP hadn’t reached enough ears, so 2014 sees a CD release on Invictus Productions. Featuring new artwork along with a couple of rather pointless outro tracks tacked on after each song, this re-issue is still a welcome treat, for Sepulchral Temple is an act with lots of potential. Playing the kind of Incantation-worshipping, ancient sounding Death Metal popularised by the likes of Grave Miasma and Cruciamentum, the two lengthy tracks on Sepulchral Temple reveal more with each listen and have their own distinct identity.
First track ‘Salvific Dance’ begins with a weird, high-pitched lead melody, gut-wrenching screams and a sinister marching riff that draws the listener deep into the bowels of the temple before the pace and intensity dramatically increases. The tempo then varies from bone-rattling speed to doom-leaden crawl while the deranged vocals contribute to the overbearing atmosphere of Lovecraftian madness.
The self-titled second track is much more aggressive with its repetitive vocal lines and sinister marching riff giving proceedings a ceremonial feel. Imagine Dead Congregation and Necros Christos summoning an ancient, evil god in a filth-smeared shrine and you have an idea of what’s going on here.
While this kind of Death Metal is gaining in prominence with several bands popping up recently who are eager to demonstrate just how worn out their copies of Onward to Golgotha (Relapse) are, we shouldn’t complain for the grim atmosphere and sense of macabre dread lurking in these recordings are necessary to ensure that this genre remains extreme and underground. Sepulchral Temple may be a little late to the ceremony but they deserve their place at the altar all the same.