Throughout the untold eons that have comprised my existence thus far, I’ve found myself entangled in countless trysts with the myriad subgenres ov metal. Seasons pass, empires rise and fall, and as the face of humanity changes so does the soundtrack to my omnipresence.1 My point: I’ve been everywhere in the metalsphere, man, and though I have my preferences and proclivities, I’ll always respect death metal above all. There’s an earnest fervor found and felt throughout the genre at large, and it’s to death metal that I turn whenever I feel burnt out by a deluge of musical sameness. Recently finding myself in such a situation, I dove into the promo depths in search of some rejuvenating death metal and resurfaced with Seven! Sirens! To a Lost Archetype, the debut full-length from German blackened death outfit Temple Koludra. Having since dried off and picked the last of the cess leeches2 from my felt, it’s time to talk about the rash I got. Oh yeah, and the album.
It’s slightly possible that some statements in the previous paragraph might have been a teeny bit wildly exaggerated3, but I’m being perfectly honest when I say that Temple Koludra serve up some seriously satisfying stuff on Seven! Sirens!. These guys chart a course for blackened-death glory that follows the guiding stars of Behemoth and Dormant Ordeal all the way to… India? A decidedly Eastern element adorns many of the melodies on Seven! Sirens!, and it does wonders toward establishing the band’s identity. Much like Behemoth, there’s a sense of grandiose in the air here; tracks like “Namarupa” and “White I Trance” have that apocalyptic “it” factor that makes the songs feel like sonic snapshots of scenes from an apocalypse,4 and even the tamest moments of the album all but reek of impending doom. Well, blackened death, but whatevs. Bowel churning death growls, raucous riffs and thundering drums are all that matter here, and to that end Seven! Sirens! is certainly a success story.
As much as I enjoy the crushing death guitar tones and their frequently Eastern direction, the majority of tracks here tend to get hung up on themselves roughly once or twice per song. This effect is particularly detrimental during the outro of “Vajra,” drawing out a suspenseful percussive passage at exactly the wrong time and all but undoing the preceding goodness. Beyond occasionally lingering too long in their own melodies, some of the tracks also bear suspicious resemblance to themselves at times, resulting in tracks like “Vajra” and “Vertigo” sounding too similar for either to effectively stand out despite their relative enjoyability. Multiple meandering missteps are made here, and most of ’em may be minor, but monotony is monotony and Muppet ain’t having it…
…or is he??? Much like how a good sound does not necessarily equate to flawless songwriting, one particular compositional shortcoming does not prevent a band from being able to write good songs. To that end, the engaging structures of the tracks on Seven! Sirens! are ultimately Temple Koludra‘s saving grace. Monotonous moments may intermittently mar the music, but such is the momentum of each track that no particular particularly repetitive passage ever lingers so long as to dominate and ruin a song entirely. By only briefly visiting any given riff or melody before moving on to the next, Temple Koludra are consistently able to quickly recover from any damage inflicted when a part is particularly played out. On the whole, it’s impossible to reflect on Seven! Sirens! and not take note of its repetitive tendencies, but there’s more than enough exciting blackened death activity in the likes of “Trimurti” and “Namarupa” to captivate listeners in the heat of the moment.
Seven! Sirens! isn’t the coolest drink ov water I’ve ever drawn from the promo sump and yet it’s slaked my thirst for something different n’ deathy all the same. Eastern Behemoth-core is something I never knew I needed in my life, it’s likely there are more refined acts out there pushing out a similar yet superior sonic product but nonetheless Seven! Sirens! is a worthy addition to any blackened death playlist. If Temple Koludra can keep their signature sound interesting and apply a little more focus to the songwriting in future endeavors, I have no doubt whatsoever that the next work of theirs to rise from the murky depths of the Angry Metal Promotional Puddle ov Horrors will prove to be a trve force to be reckoned with.
- I was there when Ozzy brought this world into being, and I’ll be there when Attila finally manage to drive the last of Jørn’s children to mass suicide. ↩
- An extremely rare indigenous parasite, found only in the murky waters of Black Lake Promo and far more horrific than whatever you’re picturing. ↩
- It was Steel who was there in the beginning of the Metal Age, joined soon thereafter by Huck. – Steel Historian ↩
- But what is ‘it’? It’s it, ov course. ↩