Review by Jason Guest
Release date: 22 January 2016
With four years between releases, international entity (by way of Chile and Greece, allegedly) Temple Below like to leave it a while before they thrust any new material upon the world. Their first demo appearing in 2008, with blazing riffs, hammered drums, and scathing vocals as well as the occasional maniacal burst of lead guitar and moody keyboards mangled into eight vicious tracks, it was suitably menacing black/death metal wrapped in a suitably murky production. An interesting introduction to an intriguing band that may or may not include members of Slaughtbbath and Bestial Mockery, it would be another four years before this mob appeared again, 2012’s four-track EP Dies Irae delivering more savagery swathed in mystery and malevolent mania. Suitably dark and menacing and awash in occult and satanic depths, like its predecessor, it’s an interesting and enjoyable EP but it does little to differentiate itself from what was out there already. 2016 and the band are again upon us with a 4-track MLP, The Dark Goddess.
Dark, menacing, savage and raw, all the components that made up the band’s first previous releases are firmly in place but this is a marked improvement. Instead of the chaotic and unbridled feel that underpinned the two other works, here, Temple Below seem to have tightened their grip in order to intensify the occult and demonic forces they sought to capture from the outset. ‘May Worlds Bleed For Her Honour’ opens with its dark energies manifest in ghostly voices emanating from the beyond before the band kicks in. Concentrated riffs, a ritualistic vocal delivery, and a structure that plots a purposeful arc, this is a monster of a track that sets this MLP far above their previous works.
At nine minutes long, ‘Mahavidya Cchinnamasta’ faces the challenge of sustaining the dark force with much success, the band’s ability to take their music in unendingly surprising and deeper creative realms making for a track that is always captivating and always urging onward. ‘Ave Trivia Ekati’ brings more of the mystical and the otherworldly, the control across the track’s dynamic and intense hammering is remarkable. After such a drubbing, closing track ‘Boszorkányság; A fekete assozny árnyÈka’ is a dark delight. Eschewing guitar, bass, drums and vocals completely, this atmospheric six-minute wonder is chilling, the essence of the Dark Goddess haunting its every instance.
Over the three releases they’ve made in the eight years since their debut demo, this band has made significant progress. That’s to be expected if the speculation about who’s in the band are to be believed, but following the impressive might of The Dark Goddess there’s only one way for them to go: a full album. And if it’s anything like this, it’s to be something magickal.
8 out of 10
- May Worlds Bleed For Her Honour
- Mahavidya Cchinnamasta
- Ave Trivia Ekati
- Boszorkányság; A fekete assozny árnyÈka