Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Temple of Void hail from Detroit, Michigan, its members banging around that scene for years before coming together to form this dark collective of Death Doom. They’ve released two full-length albums as well as a slew of splits and just now released their third full-length, The World That Was, and man, is it a corker. Full of mid-tempo stomp, dark and depressing themes, mixed with melodic passages of pure beauty, Temple of Void take what they’ve done previously and expand upon it all while shoring up what makes them so very good in the first place. It’s an album that fits perfectly with our times.
Opener “A Beast Among Us” comes right out of the gates swinging, drunk with power and ill-intent. This one ain’t nice and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s jagged and rough and lurches around, cursing the ground it strides. “Self-Schism” is next and it opens with a warping, bending riff that puts you immediately in another realm of existence. While “Beast” felt like the band was warming up, tuning up, getting ready to level you all while still levelling you, this one snaps into sharp focus immediately. There is a sweet riff to hang your hat on as it rumbles forward, full of self-loathing and dark condemnation. This one really scrapes and carves. It drops down about midway through to offer some respite, the growls giving way to whispers, the crunch to acoustic flutterings, before it slides right into some gorgeous melodic guitar work. And then it climbs back up and crushes, slow and infinite. “A Single Obulus” is a short, acoustic moment, a chance to pause and catch your breath. But it is not slight in any way as it stands completely on its own. “Leave That Light Behind” has a nice stomp, churning on spit and melody, grim and uplifting all at once. Clean vocals accent this track, giving it a bit more melody and some prog for good measure. Next to last song, “Casket of Shame” brings a nasty riff followed by a nasty groove. This one is a real headbanger. It moves and shakes and feels like a march to the death. It’s maybe my favorite of the album, along with “Self-Schism,” as it’s so satisfying on so many levels. It’s just nasty and dirty and gritty. There’s no other way to really describe it. The closing number is the title track and it distills what has come before it, mixing all the melody, all the heft, all the darkness, and packing it up in a nearly ten-minute opus that offers suffering, pain, and deliverance. This is the most melancholic track on the record and the ultimate completion of its themes. “The World That Was” takes its time, unravelling slowly, its bruised and bleeding psyche revealing itself in both its haunting melodies and crushing riffs before that monumental ending. A true classic.
Temple of Void have somehow seemed to encapsulate all the feelings in the world right now as we go through this pandemic. They tapped into something they didn’t know was coming and as each song plays, the feeling that this is the album that perfectly sums up our fears and terrors, our lost hopes and lost futures, grows. This is a record of mourning, of recrimination, of examination, of sorrow. But it is also an album of rebirth. “The World That Was” is a look in the mirror of what has come before, a gritty assessment of life as it used to be, as well as a push to move forward into the unknown. It is dark and crushing, but it is also uplifting in an honest, brutal way. The lines from the closer, “What does, the future hold? Or will the future die with us?” pretty much sum up the entirety of the album, as well as this moment in time. If you allow it, this album can serve as a scouring therapy for the soul.
Four Buckets of Blood out of Four
Kelly is the author of dozens of stories and dozens of reviews, he likes to write, he likes to read, he likes going to the movies, and he loves to laugh. He hails from the wilds of Kentucky and if you'd like to see more of his work, check out his website: www.kellymhudson.com