Friday, December 13, 2013

Temple of Void - Demo MMXIII

A band quoting from Dante’s Inferno will usually conjure feelings of overwhelming and inevitable — well, doom. Beyond just referencing doom though, Temple of Void absolutely embody it on this demo. Every aspect of the music is seething with tortured melancholy without ever sacrificing the band’s eminent heaviness. Crediting any individual for this heaviness would be pointless because of the band member’s passionate musical interplay. Considering again that this is a demo, the fluid interactions are almost shocking. Temple of Void fits squarely in the doom/death sub-genre without ever being derivative or even resorting to musical cliches. Specifically, the Peaceville Three are called to mind, but think of the comparison as an address rather than a name. In other words, the band is doomy on its own merit rather than conjuring up memories of other bands. There is also an emotional difference, instead of Poe and dried up rose pedals strewn across a lichen covered tombstone, think of Fear and Trembling, Dante’s Inferno, and Jonathan Edwards. Additionally, temple of Void are crisper and have a sharper sense of impetus to their doom. More rhythmically driving than plodding.

As far as the recording goes, listening to this in mono should be a crime, anyone doing it would be hurting themselves by missing out on rich yet subtle differences in the guitar tracks. In the first track, “Beyond the Ultimate” you can even hear how one of the guitar players has a wider and more liberal vibrato technique while the other is slightly muddier overall. Wow. Even with their differences, the two combine to make a really superb doom tone. Composition wise, pained melodies often interchange with crushing and memorable sections almost as if the lower end of the music is constantly trying to swallow up the higher melodies like Satan eternally chewing on Brutus and friends. On the topic of eternity, a low point for the band is the self indulgent final song. It persists in jamming out solo after solo for the final four minutes. This is not exactly out of place or undeserved, just like a cool-down after a strenuous exercise, but the band goes a bit far with it and looses momentum.

“Demo MMXIII” is the kind of music you can go back to after a while and enjoy just as much as when it first made your ears perk up. Take for example the first couple minutes of “Examinate Gaze,” with that riff that repeatedly makes you stop to think about how good it is. Even more impressive, is how after this riff the song goes on without loosing any steam or creating the sensation of missing out because the cool riff stopped. Everything keeps flowing forward with a sense of purpose and direction as the band crafts the illusion of increasing tempo with clever hi-hat use while inserting soaring melodies to close off the song. With the vocals though, there is a minor weakness. While the death growls are constantly powerful and well articulated, they could use a bit more variation in their range and delivery. The high pitched wails on the demo serve as an interesting contrast, so it would be nice to hear them more than just during the occasional sustained syllable (impressive as that me be). All together, this is a very strong first showing from Temple of Void, and given the band’s song-crafting abilities, it is hard to imagine anything other than more good music to come.

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