Temple of Dread – World Sacrifice Review

As a multi-genre reviewer, I sometimes think that whatever process I use to pick promos has no rhyme or reason. But if I take a moment to look back at what I was picking and when, certain patterns become clear. I pick heavy or power metal when I’m enjoying life and want to crank something cheesy, thrash when I’m pissed, black metal when entranced by nihilism, and death metal when I’m stressed. In fact, it was almost exactly a year ago that I sat down at my kitchen table in my at-the-time new house and wrote about the surge in my death metal consumption being attributed to the stress of moving. I look back to the string of five solid death metal releases I covered in late March and early April, and it coincides with the advent of Covid-19 and the subsequent eternal presence of my school-age children. And now, looking ahead at what I’ve picked for the next several weeks, it seems as if I’m some sort of combination of stressed and pissed. Let’s see if World Sacrifice, the sophomore album from Germany’s Temple of Dread can release some of this pent-up steam.

Temple of Dread play a style of death metal that is fervently faithful to the old school version of the genre. Worshiping at the throne of Pestilence and early Death, the band wastes little effort on trivialities like atmosphere or innovation, but instead takes pleasure in beating you across the face over and over with their thrashy riffs. The embedded title track wastes no time in revealing what listeners can expect to experience on World Sacrifice. A furious thrash salvo opens the title track as the intro quickly builds into a rumbling stampede of riffage and violent drumming. Vocalist Jens Finger sounds like a young Chuck Schuldiner, adding to the feeling that we’re listening to one of the faster tracks from a modernly produced Leprosy. A molten Slayer solo follows some sampled gospel preaching, and the total package results in a pretty damn fun way to open a death metal album.

“Commands From a Black Soul” continues with the runaway-train tempo of its predecessor for a bit before slowing things down so a steamrolling chugger riff can come along to induce maximum headbanging. The sub-three-minute “Machine” moves things towards the more brutal end of the spectrum with its blast-beat-with-blazing-tremolo intro, while its successor “Alive I Rot” lands almost like a pure thrash song. Closer “Blood Craving Mantra,” named after the band’s first full-length release, brings in oodles of atmosphere to effectively end the record in epic fashion. Creepy chants and sinister clean guitar leads open the track before it launches into a mid-paced stomp. But it’s all a front as the middle section of the track reverts back to the primary tempo — fast — used throughout much of the album before closing slowly.

And that’s the issue that keeps Temple of Dread and World Sacrifice from transcending the level of “good.” This is the sort of record that death metal fans will enjoy from front to back every time they press play. The 39 minute runtime moves quickly and offers constant quality, but many of the tracks blend together due to the uniform tempo, becoming at times impossible to distinguish from one another without looking at the current track name. The faithful cover of Morgoth’s “Sold Baptism” doesn’t necessarily help the band’s cause as it’s one of the more unique tracks and therefore the most likely to grab the listener’s attention. The modern production hits like a jackhammer, and I fell in love with it immediately. Standouts include “World Sacrifice,” “Commands From a Black Soul,” “Machine,” and “Blood Craving Mantra.”

We’re experiencing a surplus of good death metal in 2020, and Temple of Dread can proudly count themselves as part of it. World Sacrifice might not be unique or innovative, but if, like me, you’re looking for a nice, pummeling way to blow off some steam, you can do a lot worse than this. Prepare the altar.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Testimony Records
Website: facebook.com/templeofdread
Releases Worldwide: July 24th, 2020

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