Temple Of Scorn // Funeral Altar Epiphanies // Album Review
Unrelenting Danish death doomers Temple Of Scorn are finally unleashing their much-anticipated debut album.
Formed in 2018 & comprising some of the most prolific musicians in current death metal, Temple Of Scorn is a true example of cavernous death metal in its purest form.
With a stacked-up line up such as Simon P. Katborg (Horned Almighty, Exmortem) on vocals, and Flemming C. Lund (The Arcane Order, Invocator) on guitars. Svend E. Karlsson (Baest, Kampvogn) on second guitar, Bjørn Jensen (Dawn of Demise, Bloodgutter) handling bass duties & finally Jacques Hauge (Horned Almighty, Sylvatica) on drums!
The group released their first material in 2021 with “Preliminary Mass”.
Three track E.P that out of the gate was a solid & staunch mass of doomy-soaked death metal that left you with a nasty taste in your mouth.
Now joining forces with Transcending Obscurity Records to release their debut full length “Funeral Altar Epiphanies” is eight tracks of the heaviest material the band have written so far.
Opening the album with the perfect atmosphere “Subsequent Mass” draws you in slowly. The rustle of chains & gasping haunting vocals build. A wartime bellowing horn is blown signifying the beginning of something apocalyptic.
“Burden of Decline” is like an explosion on the ears, fast dark riffing & blasting hits you hard & fast. Katborg’s deep vocal is a nice dark tone drenched over top of the chaotic dissonant guitar riffing.
The band slows things down & uses heavy riffing to build the intensity nicely & slowly. The sheer thickness & rich tone this album has is really unmatched & it’s one of the most dense albums i’ve heard this year.
Lund & Karlsson’s guitar tone is dialled in perfectly for this type of death metal. It may be soaked in distortion but when they both hit the melodic Immolation & Morbid Angel moments they cut through so clear & add an unsettling sound to the band.
Second track “Begotten by the Envenomed” picks up the pace again. A heavy blasting track that invokes all different reactions. The fast pace guitar riffing still has nuances & moments that sets it apart from being a droned out death doom album. On multiple listens I started to hear little quick riff changes or hits the second guitar made that I didn’t notice on the first few listens.
The balance between the death metal & doom sections are apparent. Not in a negative way, but Temple Of Scorn feel like a top notch solid death metal band who added these large doom moments to their sound which has only made the band even more punishing. In the closing moments of the track it carries on building its power & getting more ferocious before a nice clean cut ending. A nice way to end the track rather than a slow fade. A great build up & solid end delivery.
A track at the halfway point “Portals to Dystopia” does dip its toes in the death doom pool a little more. Harnessing the power of say Incantation & Hoodie Menace this track is a pure assaulting track that has its switch up moments that surprise you & pay off very well. Now the album might feel like it’s cloaked in a wall of filth & decay but the production on the album really compliments the band’s song writing. It rides that nice balance between being raw & unhinged but also the perfect mixing / mastering allows Jacques Hauge’s phenomenal drum performance to cut through.
The thunderous tone he has produced from his drums hit hard but also the brightness & clarity of the cymbals push through the mix. Adding flourishes of colour & a lighter tone that perks up the listeners ears.
Closing track “Burning Palace of Wisdom” is my favourite on the album. The first time the track played my face was filled with grimace at how heavy & brutal it was. A slow methodical riff repeats and slowly builds, the band then speeds things up just enough to still keep that tank-like speed & heavy unrelenting drive that caught my off guard at first. As the track proceeds it just builds in its brutality.
At halfway point the band brings the speed back down & reintroduces that slow, knuckle dragging section. The drums are slow & primal but as a contrast the guitars are like a swarm of insects, In the albums final moments the band have built a fantastic climax of destruction & leaves the listener well and truly black & blue.
“Funeral Altar Epiphanies” is a true depiction of how doom soaked death metal should be written. It’s full of the heaviest riffs & most ethereal guitar writing you will hear within the genre in some time. If you are looking for an album that’s the perfect merging of death & doom metal then “Funeral Altar Epiphanies” is it.
Funeral Altar Epiphanies is out via Transcending Obscurity Records on 24th November 2023
Track listing – 1. Subsequent Mass 2. Burden of Decline 3. Begotten by the Envenomed 4. Icons of Demonic Virtues 5. Portals to Dystopia 6. Funeral Altar Epiphanies 7. Wretched Inner Sanctum 8. Burning Palace of Wisdom