I can’t think of a more perfect way for reunited/reformed Death Metal legends Entombed to return than a live version of one of their most revered albums. Yeah sure Wolverine Blues and Left Hand Path a classics, but I think Clandestine Live (Threeman Recordings) is even better and serves as a timely reminder of just how influential this band is.Continue reading
The amalgamation of black and death metal (often referred to as blackened death) has been successfully utilized by many bands; Dissection and Behemoth perhaps the most distinguished. It’s an unholy union that blends the macabre frostiness of black metal with the tempo and technicality of death metal. Temple of Baal hail from Paris and evoke just that with their latest release, Mysterium (Agonia). Despite being active since 1998 they have only released five full length albums and a handful of splits, one of which being alongside the phenomenal black metal band Sargeist. Momentum really got going in 2003 with the release of Servants of the Beast (Oaken Shield) and from then on the band has become more and more prolific, releasing albums every couple of years.
Their chosen theme of spirituality and religiosity is immediately apparent through the track titles alone, with songs like ‘Lord of Knowledge and Death’, ‘Hosanna’ & ‘Holy Art Thou’ being somewhat of a clue. But fear not, this is no Christian metal atrocity as the band clearly state, “Mysterium can be seen as a collection of meditations and prayers over the mysteries of Faith, directed towards the gods of the left hand path”. This prominent theme is further enforced by ritualistic sections interspersed throughout the record, epitomized in ‘Dictum Ignis’ which is an ideal accompaniment to any satanic ritual.
Aggressive and forceful, ‘Lord of Knowledge and Death’ makes no apologies for its brutal onslaught, a devastating riff interrupts the atmospheric introduction and it’s full on chaos from here on out. The riffs are piercing and well layered for a full, thick sound. Temple of Baal are all about variation, not wanting to stagnate they inject their music with different styles and sounds. ‘Magna Gloria Tua’ begins with a disorientating swirl of noise before unleashing some pummelling death metal, whilst ‘All In Your Name’ employs riffs more akin to the black metal sound. ‘Holy Art Thou’ is bursting with malice; the lyrics “Holy Art Thou!” are growled with utter venom. Exceptional fretwork shines through on the album, and is without a doubt the most memorable component, crushing yet technical and melodic, each riff serves a purpose whilst adding vigour and captivating variation.
Mysterium is a spiritual journey down the left hand path of darkness and iniquity, a remarkable journey that is without doubt unforgettable. Bow down and worship at the Temple of Baal.
To celebrate the release of Bloodbath‘s excellent new album Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville) Anders Nystrom (aka Blakkheim) talked us through his ultimate all time Top 5 Death Metal albums (and couldn’t resist sneaking in a sixth…)
Entombed – Left Hand Path (Earache) “It features the guitar tone pedal called Boss HM-2 and that’s enough said. That pedal represents the ultimate guitar tone in the world so if you want to discover where that came from then this is the album to go to.”
Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness (Earache) “Probably the classic Death Metal album of all time; where every band, directly or indirectly, draws their influence from. It’s pretty much what started the whole thing. I’m not saying it necessarily needs to be the best in their discography but it’s definitely the essential choice.”
Autopsy – Mental Funeral (Peaceville) “It represents a very morbid side of death metal; it’s sludgy, rotten to the bone and very dark. It also shows it’s not just about production values, you can also create magic with Death Metal by going more primitive and having imperfection as your guide.”
Dismember- Like An Ever Flowing Stream (Nuclear Blast) “This is pretty much up there with Left Hand Path. It’s a little bit more underrated, they always came under the shadow of Entombed, but the song writing on that album is amazing and the production is at its peak and represents Sunlight Studio in Stockholm at its very best. The whole album is very much worth buying just for the opening riff of the first track ‘Override Of The Overture’ that riff is one of my all-time favourites. If you could just bring one Death Metal riff into space for an alien to discover it would be that one.”
Deicide – Deicide (Roadrunner) “At this stage, there was no band as outrageous and controversial, they were outspoken Satanists and this album really shows it. It wasn’t just talk, they were living it. It’s a demonic album, it’s a very violent death metal album and it’s also representative of the whole Florida scene.”
Obituary – Slowly We Rot (Roadrunner) “This comes down as well to Obituary, again an album that is almost loose in a way, it also has a hilarious lack of lyrical tendency! A lot of the growls on this album are made up of just sounds, which was an insane idea to start with. It has a really big Celtic Frost influence, so is good for people to go back with.”