Göbekli Tepe, located in the southeastern part of Turkey, is believed to be the world’s oldest temple, predating the pyramids by roughly 6,500 years. With recent diggings finding three-dimensional figures of animals and humanoids in a period where many believed hunter-gatherers couldn’t possibly achieve such architecture, Göbekli Tepe continues to amaze historians just over twenty years after its excavation. It’s fitting that a mysterious Italian duo, Order ov Riven Cathedrals, would use this phenomenon as the title for their second album of utterly crazy technical death metal.
How utterly crazy are we talking here? I’ve seen apt comparisons to both Anaal Nathrakh and Behemoth. Now, throw in the coldness of Darkspace to the mix, and you have this frigid, majestic two-headed creature, hellbent on the evisceration of everything. Look no further than proper opener, “Worship ov Abduction,” where multi-instrumentalist “12” riffs ferociously and shreds maniacally over some of the most militaristic programmed blast beats while vocalist En Sabah Nur sounds like a prophet who’s seen the end of civilization as we know it, reveling in its demise with fervor and glee. The attraction is just how well the duo utilize choirs and keyboard patches to add a sense of majesty to the music. Rather than drill classical cliches into your brain, you’re instead bombarded by a sense that something both nefarious and royal is about to enslave you.
And Order ov Riven Cathedrals only rarely lets up on the intensity. The duo slows down near the middle of proper closer “Invocation ov the Kavod” to add a deathcore groove, only to throttle you back into the coldness of space. Elsewhere, “From Neptune Towards Assyria,” stands out as the album’s most militaristic, with a searing, beautiful solo by the late, great Ralph Santolla (ex-Death, ex-Deicide) towards the middle. “Wrath ov a Photon God” could easily give Nile a run for their money, taking their Egyptian motifs and hurtling them into Stargate territory, warping their trademark sound into something futuristic, but no less brutal. For a band that’s existed for barely over a year, Order ov Riven Cathedrals already possess a command for both the atmospheric as well as the relentlessly punishing.
But Göbekli Tepe is not flawless. The production is smothered, making it difficult to pinpoint where riffs twist and turn at times, such as in the middle section of “Worship ov Abduction.” Also, I could do without the album being padded out by lengthy samples from Breaking Bad or Mr. Robot. Finally, this album only operates on Kill Mode, so if you’re looking for subtlety, look elsewhere. That said, I greatly enjoyed my time with Göbekli Tepe, and it deadened the sting brought on by lackluster albums by Behemoth and Anaal Nathrakh this year. If you want a fix of cold, regal insanity, look no further than Göbekli Tepe.
Tracks to Check Out: “Worship ov Abduction,” “Wrath ov a Photon God,” “From Neptune Towards Assyria,” “Revelation ov a Neutron Swarm,” “Invocation ov the Kavod”