Those opening strokes of the guitar on Black Metal duo Tempel’s debut On the Steps of the Temple start an ominous fifty minutes of pumping riffs and double kick drums pounding their way to hell.
Opener ‘Mountain’ is powerful and the best track on the album. It’s just so relentless that it wants you to play it loud, there is a desire to. There may be no cut-throat vocals cleaving their way through the instrumentation, but there need not be any. The guitars, layered on top of one another are heavy, they are dense and make melodies without any need for a singer, because who needs one anyway?
‘Rising from the Abyss’ climbs up into this fast face-dissolving acid basin. Tempel use dynamics well, they border into post-rock territory at times, so post-metal? The softs are just as good as the harsh abrasives, but nothing is ever ‘soft’ on this album.
‘Final Years’ is atmospheric, but the atmosphere, to me, feels used. I feel like it’s not very original and after the first songs, it comes as a disappointment. It may be a change of pace but it doesn’t add anything, it’s the friend you’ve had for so long you fail to see that they’re actually of no use to you. However, it is the shortest song on the album, so it’s not around for too long.
‘The Mist That Surrounds the Peaks’ has this high pitched subtle feedback screech in the background that uses the noise effectively, it offsets the heavy foreground, contrast is good; not everything has to be block colours.
‘Avaritia’ has this riff at three-minute something that sounds like if Muse were actually a metal band. Closing the album is the self-titled track powering on at just under eleven minutes with ‘soft’ rain and guitar, brooding like a pretender to the throne that Reign in Blood sits upon. The brutal guitar work makes this track almost capture the magic off the opening track. I think I can hear some slide guitar at about six minutes before closing with the rain, leaving the scene open for a sequel.
On the Steps of the Temple is great, it’s not strong enough to be anything better, nor is it brutal enough, but I still enjoy it. It’s consistency helps it and if you want some ‘new’ (this is actually a re-issue) powerful instrumental black metal, then give it a go.