Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Death, doom, and sorrow. The three words that best describe the death/doom metal powerhouse known as Temple of Void. For those of you who don't know who Temple of Void are, I'd highly suggest you rectify that because you won't be disappointed. Over the span of 9 years, this stellar band has been pushing the boundaries of death/doom, blending in elements of post rock, shoegaze, and much more into their sound. Their previous album The World that Was was viewed by many as a pinnacle of modern death/doom, and I certainly agree. There's a lot of hype and eyes on them, especially after signing to Relapse Records. So let's find out if they've reached new heights, or missed the mark.
Right off the bat, I feel like the first thing you're going to notice is how much more prominent the death metal elements are on the album. While the previous album was a death/doom album, I feel like the leaned a bit more on the doom and atmospheric side of their sound. Songs like "Behind the Eye," "Hex, Curse, and Conjuration," and "A Sequence of Rot" showcase the bone crushing and riffy nature of their sound, while tracks like "Deathtouch," "Engulfed," and "The Transcending Horror" shine a light on their more melodic influences.
I want to specifically highlight "Deathtouch," as this is a song that serves almost as an appetizer for what you will get with this album and the surprises in store. First and foremost I must say that this quite possibly is the greatest song Temple of Void have written to date. Shimmering and beautiful harmonies exude through the entirety of this eight minute affair, but never take them for granted. While this is mostly melodic affair, around the four and a half minute mark you are gobsmacked by a stupidly heavy death/doom riff, proving to the naysayers that even with how melodic they can be, they've never lost touch with their death metal roots.
"The Transcending Horror" is another highlight. While this retains a certain melodicism that's been showcased on this album, this is no beautiful number. This is a spiraling, frightening, and downright evil affair. While the idea of playing clean guitar over crushing metal riffs isn't anything new (Disembowelment anyone?), this is a lot more menacing compared to many others. Even with all of the experimentation on the album nothing prepared me for the closing number "Dissolution." This serves as the "ballad" of the album. A beautiful psychedelic acoustic number with slight symphonic touches, complimented by the watery and reverb-drenched clean singing of vocalist Mike Erdody. Yes, I know he sings clean on the previous two albums, but this is entirely cleanly sung. A bold and stunning way to end this album.
So where does Summoning The Slayer stand in the Temple of Void catalog? While this album clearly has its foot still in the death and doom metal genres, it is quite diverse and experimental. I feel like this is going to be seen as a transitional album in their discography. Would I say this is a perfect album? No. Would I say that this is a really well-written and well executed album? Yes, quite. I feel like this is an album that will open a lot of doors for them, and will give them the confidence to further their sound even more. My guess is that by the next album, they will have perfected their sound. But for now, let's just all appreciate this monstrous album, and applaud the band for their willingness to experiment, all without completely abandoning their roots.
Temple of Void - Summoning The Slayer was released June 3rd, 2022 via Relapse Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.