“Right now, I want the undivided attention of every God-fearing American citizen.”

Angry Metal Guy is angry. That was very meta and meme-ish, I know, but when he started the blog back in 2009, he had a lot of opinions about our favorite music of choice, and he was not afraid to share them. You know who else personifies Angry Metal GuyToday is the Day‘s Steve Austin. Back in 1997, after three albums on Amphetamine Reptile, shit hit the fan for Austin in glorious fashion. Label-less, homeless, without a backing band, cut off from family, and left behind by loved ones, Austin holed himself off in his warehouse studio (which doubled as a makeshift living space) in Nashville, and began work on what easily should have been his final will and testament. That result is today’s induction into the Yer Metal is Olde Hall of Fame: the visceral, uncompromising Temple of the Morning Star.

Now, before I continue, I have to ask you a question. How angry is your metal? I don’t mean blastbeats, 808 bass drops, breakdowns after breakdowns, or any of the other frivolous shit that gets peddled like 5th generation hand-me-downs at a sketchy rundown flea market. I’m talking honest, genuinely seething rage at the world around you? The kind of rage that screams, “fuck this, fuck the world, and fuck you” with such a passionate sincerity that there’s no doubt that it’s coming from a place of pure honesty and total disappointment at life? Because Temple, as stated above, not only succeeds in its viciousness, but still legitimately frightens to this very day because of it.

Key examples of such headfuckery make themselves apparent early on. After a mournful intro (which doubles as the almost-defiant outro, both of which I will address), Waylon Jennings‘ “Good-Hearted Woman” begins with loops of Austin screaming, feedback, and a voice telling you that you are free to do what we tell you before late Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell comes in with the quote that opens the review in question. And with that, “The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself” rips right for your throat and refuses to let go. Austin’s riffing and maniacal screaming lacerate all around him, while drummer Mike Hyde seemingly hits every piece of his kit at once with surgical precision and militaristic authority. Christopher Reese’s bass work does a commendable job barely holding everything together as chaos swirls around the band, threatening to snuff out everything in its path, including itself.


This unhinged chaos works beautifully due to Austin’s sincerity in his attack. “Pinnacle,” a song written specifically for a former friend who betrayed him, pulls no punches lyrically as Austin howls and screeches over frantic drumming and thick bass. Austin croons and calls out his ex on “My Life With You,” detailing his disappointment of her and his handling of that relationship’s demise. “Hermaphrodite”‘s dirge and crawl winds the album down on a diseased, uncomfortable note, before going into the album’s intro and outro. As an acoustic opener, the title track begins with a Middle-Eastern melody and bongos, with Austin sighing “I can’t be what you want me to be… I am dead,” sounding defeated and on the verge of killing himself. When that song repeats as an electric outro, that very song morphs almost into a song of empowerment, with bongos replaced by Hyde’s phenomenal fills and tribal rhythms, and Austin screaming as if the old him as died, and he’s reborn. “Temple of the Morning Star” both set up the album for a story of a troubled man, and ends that same album as a man purged.1

Twenty years later, Austin has continued to release influential noise albums under the Today is the Day moniker, having influenced a whole slew of bands from Converge through The Dillinger Escape Plan. The players may change (including, at one point, Bill Kelliher and Brann Dailor of Mastodon), but the passion hasn’t. Also, just recently, Austin was featured in a documentary titled The Man Who Loves To Hurt Himself, following Austin on the road as he discusses his passion for music as both enjoyment and catharsis. After twenty years, Temple of the Morning Star is finally getting the praise it rightfully deserves, and here’s hoping more ears will hear it, as this album remains the pinnacle of anger.

 

Show 1 footnote

  1. The awesome cover of Black Sabbath‘s “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath” that immediately follows the electric version makes a great bonus.
Share →
  • Diego Molero

    Didn’t even knew that this band existed. But judging by the embedded track (and your writing(, they are very good. I’ll be checking the whole album soon.
    Thank you angrily, Grymm.

    • drug_genosh

      for new listeners id recommend skipping right to “in the eyes of god” and then going back and listening to pretty much everything.

  • Janclaudevandamage

    Back in the 80’s I tape traded with people all over the world, most of us were looking for the heaviest, fastest, extremist bands around. Years later I threw out the 100s of tapes I had collected because with the exception of a handful of bands, it was all shit. Today is the day would have joined the rubbish bin because it is crap and virtually unlistenable. Maybe when grymm grows up or trades in his hipster facade he can be honest about how crap this truly is. Maybe the title of the piece should be yer metal is shite. Regarding the writing of the review (for all you fanboys out there who seem to care more about the written word than the music) for once the review is as shit as the music, normally the reviews are a beacon of light compared to the dross being reviewed and are amusing, thoughtful and generally far better than the music itself. Am I angry? You bet I am……

    • El_Cuervo

      gg no re

      • Janclaudevandamage

        ????????

      • Eli Valcik

        I get it. Now who do I have to bang around here to get a Windir 1184 review?

        • El_Cuervo

          While I like that record a lot it’s by no means a favourite for me. I think AMG Himself likes Windir but he writes so infrequently that I wouldn’t hold out much hope.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            It does need to happen, though…

    • Them’s fightin’ words, son.

      • Janclaudevandamage

        I like this site. Like I mentioned in my original comment, the reviews are generally amusing and thoughtful. Unfortunately the majority of music is dross. I am reminded of my youth where taste went out of the window in pursuit of extremity. You grow older, wiser and you start to appreciate music in terms of more than base, negative human emotions. Why does the singers anger make this a good record? The truth is he can’t fucking sing. Whilst singing skills aren’t everything – I enjoy immortal as much as led Zeppelin, ultimately its about songs. I don’t hear them with this album. And not many others did either according to the last sentence of the review.

        • Grymm

          See, if you took *this* approach instead of flat-out insulting me, I would be more apt to listen to your criticisms.

          • Janclaudevandamage

            I have praised the reviewing skills of this site. I think this review was an anomaly, so don’t take it personally. My digs were meant light heartedly although I would be interested in your opinion on this record in 20 years time. Can we kiss and make up now?
            Xxxx

          • We’re all good. No kisses though.

          • One More Thing

            I find your entire argument/stance/thought process/gains invalid.

            The anger makes it a good record because it’s a genuine and pure form of expression from someone who, at the time, was at his lowest point. We are talking about art that, despite a lack of marketing and mainstream success, still positively influenced others. But, of course, there were poor record sales, so fuck it, right?

          • Janclaudevandamage

            Does your mother know you are still up? If you are going to browse the web past bedtime could I suggest you do something more constructive like watch porn. Anger on its own has never made a good record and is not art. Grow up.

          • One More Thing

            I think I dented your ego. My digs were only meant light heartedly.

          • Janclaudevandamage

            Sorry, I’ve used that line already. You really should try pornhub instead…….

          • Grymm

            See, I’m confused here.

            On the one hand, you seem somewhat capable of bringing up valid points. On the other, you resort to childish name-calling and playground tactics in an attempt at a “light-hearted dig”.

            Which is it? Because, as you can see, you are not successful at either “light-hearted” humor or articulating very well, given the comments left by other readers or your responses to such.

          • Janclaudevandamage

            I think I’m doing fine at both thanks. And other than my initial digs at yourself, I’ve only responded to other peoples barbs. Still if we all want to be nice, hold hands and sing kumbaya, my lord. Then I’ll have to take a rain check. Its funny how people who can from time to time write nasty reviews full of bile and sarcasm (and that’s not aimed at yourself but AMG in general) can’t handle some lighthearted digs and banter. Stones and glasshouses comes to mind.

    • Dr. Wvrm
      • Wes Allen

        “Well that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

      • jetblindracos

        The Dude man!

    • El_Cuervo

      Dear Mr. Janclaudevandamage,

      Thanks for your complaint. As you know, customer satisfaction lies at the heart of what we do here at Angry Metal Guy. We treat any criticisms or recommendations with the utmost sincerity and shall consider your comments carefully. Your issue shall be assigned to one of our specially trained customer satisfaction team who will get back to in 7-10 working days.

      Our deepest apologies and best regards,
      El Cuervo, Customer Satisfaction Line Manager

      • Grymm

        You just made me spit out my organic, fair-trade, expertly roasted poured-over coffee, sweetened with almond milk and cruelty-free cane sugar, all over my 5th-generation Apple IIe monitor.

        • Won’t someone think of the sourdough??

        • spämbot

          What a sorry response to you going out of your way to recommend a record that means something to you. I’m going to listen to this very carefully. Thank you.

          • Grymm

            It’s a very diverse album with different moods, but it’s mostly angry and a bit uncomfortable. I think it holds up well.

          • Name’s Dalton

            Admittedly, even though I was a huge AmRep guy back in the ’90s, I never got into TitD until a few years ago when I got into metal. However, they were always well-respected, if on the fringes of indie rock.

      • Janclaudevandamage

        Can I have some Amazon vouchers as compensation?

        • El_Cuervo

          I’m afraid I can’t comment, it’s been assigned to one of our specially trained customer satisfaction team.

          Best regards,
          El Cuervo, Customer Satisfaction Line Manager

      • [not a Dr]

        Customer Satisfaction? And here I was thinking that the only people that were treated worse than the “customers” were the staff…

    • Grymm

      I was looking somewhere in there how much you can bench, because really, that’s all there is missing from this comment.

      • Janclaudevandamage

        How much I bench? Not sure why you mention that. I stand by my comments and this records sales……..

        • Grymm

          I mention that because, honestly, you going on about trading tapes in the 80s and how much of a supposed hipster I am hold as much, if not less, water. If you don’t like the record, fine. No one is holding a gun to your head, demanding you go out there, spend your hard-earned money, and listen to it, or to read my review.

          But the fact of the matter is TotMS is a highly influential album that, given the unfortunate circumstances that preceded it, carried out its mission rather effectively, breaking down barriers for other stylistically diverse bands to follow.

          Also, since you were trading tapes back in the 80s before my “hipster” ass could even operate a tape deck, you should know better than to hinge an album’s success on its sales.

          Better?

          • Janclaudevandamage

            I think your ego is dented. The preamble about tape trading was to illustrate how tastes change. The article is about an old record so I gave an opinion based on my own experiences. Regarding sales, it is actually a good barometer of a records quality. That doesn’t mean it has to go triple platinum but a good record does generate higher sales than an average one or does your tastes supersede all the people who didn’t buy it based on their hearing it?
            By the way I bench 110kg which isn’t much….sorry

          • Diego Molero

            So… The Black Album is Metallica’s best, judging by your criteria?
            Album’s sales means absolutely zero if you are speaking about quality.

          • Nukenado

            “Regarding sales, it is actually a good barometer of a records quality. ”
            I’m going to listen to some masterful Limp Bizkit now, if you don’t mind. Also going to throw in some Silver Side Up from Nickleback.
            Lateralus? Poser shit. Icon? Depressing emo hipster wankfest. Crimson I? Pretentious bullshit.

            By your barometer of record quality, Kid Rock is better than most metal acts in history.

          • Christopher

            Some of the worst music on the planet has sold millions of copies.

            Record sales are not a measure of quality. They are simply a measure of popularity.

    • spämbot

      Thanks for saving me from erroneously enjoying this album.

      • Janclaudevandamage

        You’re welcome. I’ll make sure I add my 5 cents on a regular basis so you don’t make any other errors.

        • Grymm

          OHHH… I don’t see that being likely soon.

        • spämbot

          Please do. Just try not to be an asshole about it.

    • Handy Donut Hole

      MetalSucks is bleeding into this comment section. Damn shame.

      • Janclaudevandamage

        I’m not politically correct…… Honest. Yes.

      • We’ll never let that happen.

        • Handy Donut Hole

          That’s why I love this website.

  • METAL OTTER

    I love Today Is The Day. Listening to this album and/or the more accessible Pain Is A Warning is akin to an aural detox session. Purge anger with anger.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Morgan Freeman voiceover: “Among the millions of sperm released during ejaculation, only a single lucky one will possibly manage to fertilize the pentagram.”

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      The foil-embossed cover to this is one of the most 90’s things ever.

  • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

    This record is an absolute monster, one of the most hidden gems of the era. Absolutely brutal live band, too – I saw them on this tour.

    The idiot below complaining about this album (and review) wouldn’t know good music if it walked up and clobbered him in the balls with a pipe wrench.

    • Janclaudevandamage

      Hidden? More like ignored. Now I wonder what the reason for that would be……….oh yeah its shit. I think the numbers are on my side. Idiot.

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        What “numbers”? Album sales are not a barometer of quality, you peckerwood. I can’t even fathom somebody on a metal site harboring that kind of delusion in 2017.

      • Dispense with the name calling. We run a friendly comment section. Posts with abusive comments get deleted and if it continues we ban the commenter.

        • Janclaudevandamage

          I respond in kind. So maybe you should aim your comment at your sycophantic fan club. Anyway I’m off to the gym to practice my bench press. Adiós……….

  • John

    I need some helpful advice fellow metal listeners. Advice on best over-ear headphones that are $1000 or less? My favorite genres are progressive metal/rock (easily my favorite), alternative, melodic death metal, and doom. I prefer slightly more bass than average, but nothing overwhelming. Any suggestions?

    • Eli Valcik

      I use the V-Moda Crossfade 250, about $200-$250 but you can usually find some on sale. Good sound and pretty durable, the bass is above average but nothing close to say the Beat generation, I listen to plenty of doom, and they work fantastically with the genre (also Bolt Thrower sounds dope on them, but to be fair Bolt Thrower always sounds awesome.)

    • Mihir

      Been listening to a lot of metal (prog, stoner, doom, trash – god Elder’s new album sounds so good on these!) on my Bowers and Wilkins P7 and it sounds fantastic, very good sound stage for a closed back and not as “V” sounding as the V-modas with good representation across the EQ range. Can handle bass like a champ too. Also heard good things about the Meze 99 classics. Try em out!

    • Soge

      I have been using the Koss 950 for the last year or so. They are absolutely fantastic for all kinds of Metal, with a really good response time which makes the more technical parts really pop, and can be found somewhat cheap, considering they are electrostatic– got mine in an Amazon sale for 400$, and that price includes the amplifier.

    • Mollusc

      I’ve got AKG Y50s. (I’m on a super-tight budget) They’re only £50 in the UK but the sound seems really clear and crisp to me.

    • Thomas Wilkens

      I cannot recommend the ath-m50x enough. Best headphones for the price, audiophile quality, they work well with any genre and make the songs sound how they were meant to sound. They run for around 130$ on amazon. (Dirt cheap for the quality)

    • John

      I ended up deciding to get the m50x’s after researching for like 4 hours all the different ones you guys mentioned. They sound like a good starting point and if I feel like I get a lot more out of the music, I’ll probably upgrade not too much later.

      Now I just need to download the highest quality sound files from Bandcamp and wait for Tuesday when the headphones come in :)

    • Check out metal-fi.com reviews and the forums. Tons of great advice in there. But I’m bias.

  • Planex

    Speaking of anger, rage, fury, misanthropy, and albums that are twenty years old, I really hope Strapping Young Lad’s magnum opus “City” gets a YMIO. That album is truly pissed off and is truly breathtaking. Just thinking about it gets my blood pumping. I’d rather not wait another 7 years for an article on Alien.

    Definitely going to check this album out. I love an album with real anger behind it.

    • Grymm

      Keep your eyes out. :)

      • Vassago Gamori

        “Excellent, excellent…”
        .
        *rubs hands together in Burnsyian delight.
        .
        .
        …and a long belated thanks to Ernie Novembers of Billings MT for back in the day having both “City” & “Temple of the Morning Star” for me to clutch in my grubby eager hands.
        Damn can 20 years slide by in a slam.

    • GardensTale

      I think that one is indeed under construction, or at the very least, the plans are on the table.

      • Planex

        Double feature with Ocean Machine: Biomech?

        • GardensTale

          If no one else is doing that I’m gonna be all over it. Biomech is among my absolute favorites of all time.

          • Planex

            I love it as well, but it was strange how I got into it. My first Townsend album was City, which blew me away, but then I didn’t listen to Biomech until years later.

            They feel very connected for different they sound.

            Make the double YMIO happen GardensTale!

  • Mollusc

    This review was designed, among other things, to convey your enthusiasm, pique interest and to share something you love with others who might not have heard it (like myself). Objectives achieved. So I would say that means it’s a pretty good article.

  • John

    I’ve never wished you could have negative upvotes on this site before. Thanks for this Grymm, had never heard of this, and I’m enjoying it.

  • IBlackened

    Off Topic: Enthrone Darkness Triumphant just turned 20. I hope some writer think it deserves a YMIO.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Sick record. One of the first demented records in my collection, and still one of the most depraved.

    You guys should give scores to these, unless thats courting too much flak. :P

  • Dobbie03

    Love this album.

  • Metrognome26

    That “You are free to do as we tell you” sample is Bill Hicks btw. If you’re not familiar with his stand-up, I think you’re really missing out.