Released: 2016, W.T.C. Productions
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Twelve years after issuing their debut, Current 11, Norwegian black/death metal trio Shaarimoth finally have re-emerged to unleash its follow up. Not exactly sure what's up with the long period of silence, but the band – original vocalist "R" and instrumentalist "F" joined here by new drummer "J" - put an end to it rather emphatically with Temple of the Adversarial Fire.
Shaarimoth's expansive, cataclysmic bluster takes the technical grace of Morbid Angel, the thematic flair of Nile and the sheer bludgeon of Behemoth and rams it home with the unvarnished purity of vintage Mayhem. The band's promo blurb describes Temple as "the sound of a thousand raging hearts, the Devil's music manifest." And that's not just mere hyperbole.
Elaborate, yet unrelenting, marked at times by ritualistic chants and eerie segues, and boasting a primitive production that makes it all the more corrosive, Temple is a fearsome and occasionally frightening work – case in point the murky throb of "Lord Of Putrefaction" and the ear-bleed guitar screed on "Ascension Of The Blind Dragon." It's made all the moreso by genuine zeal with which it's presented. Like Behemoth, these guys play it like they mean it with every note, and only stumble at the end, with the classical tinges and female vocal accompaniment of "Point of Egress." It's the only time the band take their boots of your throat, and it makes for a disappointingly tepid finish instead of the expected, indeed deserved, coup de grace.
The rest of the album, though, is as feral and vicious as it comes, the manifestation more of a dozen years of pent-up aggression, I would venture, than "the Devil's music." But whatever. Temple is exhilirating in its brutality and sheer vehemence, and a welcome return for a band that hopefully won't be going back into hiberation anytime soon.