It really is a renaissance time for heavy, melodic experimental doom fans with The Exuviae Of Gods series from Mournful Congregation, the cathartic Katatonia-indebted Mother of Graves making significant waves and now the first album from Portland’s beloved Usnea in over half a decade. A band rooted in care-for-others and awareness of their place in the cosmos making some of the most expansive and also acerbic doom around? What’s not to love?
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.
Experimental post black metallers Decline Of The I is streaming their new album Rebellion, out February 27, 2015 in Europe and March 10, 2015 in North America via Agonia Records, here.
Tracklist: 01.Lower degree of God’s might 02.Hexenface 03.Le rouge, le vide et le tordu 04.The end of prostration 05.Pieces of a drowned motion 06.Deus Sive Musica 07.On est bien peu de chose
Rebellion was recorded in Studio de Chine with Khatchik Hovikian (L’odeur du Tchaman), while Xort (Seth, Alcest, Vorkreist, Anorexia Nervosa) took care of the mastering. Layout and artwork were created by the French photographer and filmmaker David Fitt (Aosoth, Secrets of the Moon, Svart Crown). Rebellion includes guest appearance by Olivier from Eros Necrospique.
The band is led by the multi-instrumentalist A.K. who has been active in the metal scene for over 15 years and played in bands such as Vorkreist, Merrimack, Neo Inferno 262, Malhkebre and Diapsiquir. The project is his “personal approach on dark music”. He’s accompanied by musicians of Merrimack,Anus Mundi, Temple of Baal, Eibon and Drowning fame.
The concept of band is inspired by the works of the biologist Henri Laborit.
Line-up: A.K. – guitars, keyboards, programming, samples, bass, vocals, drums S. – drums V. – vocals G. – vocals
French blackened death metal outfit Temple Of Baal have been steadily releasing EPs and albums since their inception in 1998 – 15 years later and their focus has progressively shifted away from black metal and incorporated elements of death, receiving mixed reviews from fans in the process. Fourth studio album Verses Of Fire (Agonia) is a continuation of this departure, however, this time their sound is decidedly more melodic.Continue reading →