Death/doom is a deceptively mercurial beast, possessed of a tangential tendency to meander in directions that range from the darkly romantic to the downright bludgeoning. Detroit’s Temple of Void are plainly with the latter and dole out the kind of stomach churning Asphyxiation that had me at hello. Their debut album, Of Terror and the Supernatural, was by far my favorite of its kind in 2014, and I’ve since salivated openly in wait for its follow up to whisper rotten nothings in my shell-like ear. Now that day has arrived, and with it the aptly titled Lords of Death. It’s beyond my ability to explain what an utter brute this record is, so I’ll minutely paraphrase the late, great William Golding to deliver my point:

“… Ferrous wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart and his once healthy nervous system that had since fallen victim to riffs so malign, they might terrorise entire villages…”

And to think they called me a fanboy…

Avoiding the potential pitfalls of the myriad acts adopting the “caverncore” mantle that Incantation once wore to such effect, Temple of Void craft old-school and abjectly violent death metal that borrows from Hooded Menace‘s propensity for doom-haggard rhythms that really drag the corpse. The material places the almighty riff on a pedestal and, like some moonlit cult, swaddles it with an abundant desolation that never lacks in a cadence to truly wreck the neck. First up is “The Charnel Unearthing,” one of two brief instrumentals and our first sample of the bovine guitar tone that presides over the record. The brief intro eventually bleeds into “Wretched Banquet,” which lurches into life with inexorably advancing palm-mutes before changing tempo. The song culminates in a Jerry Cantrell inspired solo – an early highlight and a first glimpse into the more street-level punk energy that suffuses the record; unsurprising considering the band’s veteran lineup consists of current and ex members of acts as diverse as: Acid Witch, Hellmouth, Harbinger and Borrowed Time.

Vocalist, Mike Erdody, marks his unholy presence with an array of vast gutturals that hold the same phrasing and depth that Akerfeldt once utilized to such infamy on classic Opeth. Although Lords of Death puts a little less emphasis on the doom aspect – particularly in comparison with the debut – there’s still more than enough suffocation to go round. “A Watery Internment” builds on guitarists, Alex Awn and Don Durr’s, mountainous riffs with eerie abandon, summoning a deliberate, fathomless body of sound to drown in. “The Gift” picks up the pace somewhat, content to level skylines with riffs a-plenty, and offers drummer, Jason Pearce, the opportunity to inject some nuance into his percussion with adept fills. Death/doom is likely a tricky sub-genre to innovate – as such, Temple of Void aren’t doing anything new. Although pleasant, the 30 second acoustic interlude, which precedes “The Gift,” seems redundant on its own, and surely would have been preferable had it been incorporated into the track it’s so clearly designed to herald. Minor quibble aside, Lords of Death elects to lean on the ability and confidence of its makers to continuously deliver impeccable classic death metal.

The production, specifically the mix on the album, is nothing but complimentary. Erdody’s vocals don’t sit too high, accentuating their stifling efficacy whilst never swallowed by an impenetrable guitar tone much improved since the debut. Each instrument has a platform to maneuver, exemplified on “Graven Desires.” Borrowing from its dutch forbears, this beast hoards all the best riffs – no mean feat on such a densely packed release. The song also briefly showcases Erdody’s vocal capacity with a single mesmerizing passage of tortured cleans that seamlessly integrate with the crushing riff work.

Although it may seem that a genre that equally relies on and relishes a simplistic approach to structure has little opportunity for growth, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still impressive when executed with aplomb. With Lords of Death, Temple of Void have furthered their reputation as righteous riff-smiths and even engendered the band’s evolution with an innate ability to infuse their music with their own unique character. Having passed the annual halfway point, I strongly suspect this is a release to heavily feature come list season – I certainly expect to find it on my own. Until then, I can safely report my cenotaph has been well and truly crushed.


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Websites: templeofvoidbandcamp.com | facebook.com/templeofvoid
Releases Worldwide: July 28th, 2017

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  • ashcindersmoke

    Great review! I was hoping this was going to be reviewed. This is a monster of a record and has been on repeat for me since it came out.

  • Andy777

    I dug the last one and I dig this one even more. The vocals especially stand out to me as killer, they incorporate all the things I love about harsh vocals while remaining unique. Great review.

    • Eli Valcik

      Really interesting, I actually preferred the softer (more audible) vocals from the last album. They matched the lyrics of their previous album soooooo well. But to each their own.

      • Andy777

        I can see that, but I definitely dig something about the discernible yet paint scraping quality of the current ones.

  • Malhorne

    That sounds killer! I find it a bit compressed (at least in the video, and it is probably because of youtube audio handling) but overall the song is great!

    Anyway, great review!

    • Nukenado

      Nah, doom doesn’t really like dynamics. Sad really.

      • Malhorne

        Yep that’s sound, a lot of records could get more valuable with more dynamics.

  • Eli Valcik

    I love Temple Of Void, I may have liked their last album a bit more because of the doomier pace and less compressed atmosphere ( I even own Of Terror on vinyl!) This album is it’s own monster and I will spend plenty of time with her.

  • Leonmed

    Not generally into doom, but ill have no trouble enjoying this, great sound! Thanks Ferrous

  • Wow, this is supremely killer. Not typically an enthusiast of growls in doom metal, more of a Khemmis, Forming the Void, Spirit Adrift fan. Well played Temple of Void, thanks for the review Ferrous!

    Side note: Listen to this on their Bandcamp, Youtube ruined the sound.

    • Ivan E. Rection

      Spirit Adrift is preposterously good. I believe they / HE is working on new material now.

      • Tomb Rady

        Word around the campfire is that it’ll be out before the end of the year.

      • Good news indeed! When I first heard Chained to Oblivion I really enjoyed it. After finding out it’s a one-man project, I was seriously impressed. Try Forming the Void(if you haven’t already), they had an album this year called ‘Relic’. I’m very much enjoying it.

  • Dagoth_RAC

    Why is the guy in middle of band photo not wearing a monochrome t-shirt like all the others? What does he think he is? Some kind of unicorn!?

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Worse – Unicron.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      It’s a Pestilence’s “Consuming Impulse” T-shirt, it is excempt from most rules. It’s also one of the earliest (in fact, the earliest I can think of right now) uses of using “V” instead of for “U” in Metal, so it’s kvlt. Trvly kvlt.

    • [not a Dr]

      This happened in Space Quest 4: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers.
      When Roger time-traveled back to Space Quest 1, a monochrome biker gang beat the shit out of him because he thought he was so much better than everyone else with his 16 colors.

      • Nukenado

        Holy shit, Space Quest… That’s a name from the past of gaming.

  • Kill The King

    Hell yeah!!!!!

  • Dagoth_RAC

    While I usually don’t listen to albums not reviewed by AMG, I checked out the first Temple of Void album because I recognized the cover art as an old Bruce Pennington painting used as a book jacket cover for an old Lovecraft anthology. Check out Bruce Pennington if you get a chance. Very cool artist, with a very unique style in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genres. I remember liking his covers for Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun series.

    I know Pennington did a series of paintings of the end of the world as envisioned by Nostradomus. I remember him commenting something about, “People keep worrying about the end of the world being imminent, which is silly. The prophecies clearly point to the 23rd century.” So, weird dude, but good painter!

    • Martin L

      “I usually don’t listen to albums not reviewed by AMG”

      You’re missing out a lot of great stuff.

    • Morbidly Obese Angel

      You only listen to albums that get reviewed on AMG? Seriously dude, that’s pretty obtuse.

  • I.B. Hurtin

    This is good, heavy shit! Thanks for exposing me to it.

  • Thraeg

    I’ve been listening to this on a daily (or more) basis since it came out, and it’s fantastic. Easily going to make my EOY list.

  • Mollusc

    Great sound to the acoustic guitar on the intro. Then when it kicks into the second track… bass is really full… riffs… yeah. Wasn’t expecting this at all, cheers!

  • It appears that at least two members of Bandcamp have had their balls smashed by this release. That honestly doesn’t sound that appealing, but I’m willing to give it a go based on the embedded track.

    • Leonmed

      “My balls have been smashed and my head exploded.”
      “My balls are also smashed and my brain has sublimated into a gaseous mess”
      Hahahaha, thanks for the laugh.

      • Lou Daz

        Yeah, that was me, Ian Lovdahl. It’s the truth, I’ve been rendered by the music. Glad to see it get reviewed by AGM, I love this blog.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      “Warning: Your balls might be smashed by listening to this”

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        “Wear protective cup before hitting play”

        • I now have a new way to do a “cup check” on the kids before baseball games.

  • Metal and Hockey

    Don’t know how I missed their first album but after reading the review and listening to the song I went to their bandcamp and ordered this one. Great review thanks!

  • I was listening to Kings X – Dogman on the way to work yesterday. I hadn’t listened to it for quite a while and I was admiring just how weighty the production is. I was thinking that although there are a lot of heavy albums around, not that many of them have real weight behind them. This album does. It sounds great.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      King X always had killer guitar tone.
      Gretchen is still one of my fav albums ever.

      • I am not too into Kings X but I really enjoy Gretchen Goes to Nebraska. Everything about that album is solid. I saw Kings X with Dream Theater back in 2001, they played a great set.

    • Bas

      I should listen to that one again. Their last great album (the one after that, ear candy, was nice but not great and then I lost track of them..). Do they still exist as a band or do they only play in all kinds of ‘supergroups’ nowadays?

      Gretchen is amazing (Pleiades !!!!).

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Great tone on the guitars and bottom end .
    Surprisingly clear and dynamic.
    And lots of shake up with the pace and resetting of the riffs.
    Soothingly punishing wall of crunchy sonic goodness.
    Feeling a bit of a Grave vibe .
    Thanks for this!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    One of my favorites pastimes (wastetimes?) is to discuss with fellow Metalheads what the differences are between Death-doom and Doom-death.

    • Morbidly Obese Angel

      That sounds about as fun as discussing the difference between Blackened Death and Black/Death

      • Bas

        Its more fun than that! So many things are called black or blackened nowadays (that aren’t)… lets not start discussing that because it will get out of hand.. hahaha..

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          That’s the idea, isn’t it?

          • Bas

            Looks like nobody took the bait …. probably it would only work in a review of popular blackened post metal drone grind ;-) or a very trve black metal review..

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            That’s the kind of fire that needs to be fueled with alcohol. Of the drinking variety.

    • Bas

      This is kind of in between death-doom and doom-death ;-)

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        If it’s between death-doom and doom-death then it’s doom-doom! ;)

        • Bas

          Oh no.. You got me there :-)

  • Mark Z

    God damn man. Great review, this sounds amazing.

  • Gage

    I really want to give this album a 4/5 but a couple things knock it down to a 3.5/5.

    1) Unnecessary, out of place filler tracks
    2) Only 30ish minutes long
    3) Some of the songs drag on for too long
    4) I can’t forgive the opening riff in “A Watery Internment” that is stolen straight from Bolt Thrower
    5) None of the other songs live up to “Wretched Banquet”

    Those issues aside, I love the production, the riffs, and the vocals, and I look forward to seeing what this band does next.

  • Great review! I’ve been debating with myself for the last week whether I really need a physical copy of this record, but after another listen yesterday I had to pull the trigger on it. Now to spend some more time with the first record …

  • Jeremy Freeman

    Not sure where you get these scores…this is awful.

    • herrschobel

      if one likes Justin Bieber, yes this must sound awful

  • El_Cuervo

    This. This is fucking badass.

  • Bas

    This sounds good !!!

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    The main riff in Graven Desires is incredible! The whole song is one of the best doom/death tunes I’ve heard in a long time.

  • hallowed

    This is heavy. It’s so heavy it’s going to cause a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull.

  • I like this. The instrumental parts of the embedded track have a Candlemass feel to it at times.

  • Yep, this is heavy.

  • Hall Awaits

    This album is 6/10 at best. Heavy as shit but the songs just feel disjointed.

  • Treble Yell

    Bought. Pretty good thus far, although the mix is a bit uneven. Acoustic bits sound crystal clear and three-dimensional whereas all the heavy stuff sounds a bit flat and squashed. It reminds me alot of a mix you’d get from an early 90s album, which is also the sort of death/doom this pulls from. Still very good.

  • Kryopsis

    So I’ve been listening to this for a while. It’s interesting, memorable and original. But I found something curious.

    Try setting YouTube to 1.5 speed on tracks like Wretched Banquet. It’s a dramatically different experience and yet it doesn’t sound abnormal except on some solos.