Reviewed: August 2020
Released: 2020, Iron Bonehead Productions
Reviewer: Kira Levine
Haling from Australia and founded just a decade ago, Temple Nightside will be releasing their fourth full-length Pillars Of Damnation on August 7th, via Iron Bonehead Productions.
Their label states:
“By now, Temple Nightside require little to no introduction. Begun in 2010 by mainman IV – whose experience in the fertile Australian black metal underground is vast in itself – to explore a more blackened version of ancient death metal, the band’s initially self-described “Ritualistic Death Metal Necromancy” eventually morphed into more atmospheric and more deeply cavernous shapes, culminating in 2016’s critically acclaimed The Hecatomb. But such acclaim matters not to Temple Nightside, and the now-quartet next explored their past with the foul ‘n’ fascinating Recondemnation in 2018, which was a reimagining of their 2013 Condemnation debut album.”
The production on Pillars Of Damnation works well to provide a highly atmospheric, doom-esque vibe that sounds as if the songs are bellowing from deep within a cave, the drum and bass really taking this mood to full effect.
Whispered lyrics on the record evoke the recital of rituals, namely near the beginning of first track ‘Contagion of Heresy’, ‘The Carrion Veil’ and during penultimate track ‘In Absentia’.
‘Death Eucharist’ houses some great solos, and is one of the more overwhelmingly death-metal styled offerings on Pillars Of Damnation (both in the vocal performance and instrumentation).
Hosting a comparatively jubilant opening to the seven other tracks, ‘Morose Triumphalis’ illustrates its juxtapositional title successfully.
‘Wreathed in Agony’ like ‘Morose…’ begins with an upbeat introduction, though feel less triumphant and more aggressive throughout, even in its down tempo sections. Hearing the above-average guitar work towards the end, one cannot help but wonder what they would sound like with a more refined production.
‘Blood Cathedral’ and ‘In Absentia’ show off some black metal shrieks that Pillars Of Damnation has to offer, a great contrast to the death-growled vocals.
The doom aspect of the record can be felt immensely during ‘Damnation’, which really lives up to its name. The finale, while keeping with the blackened death subgenre, is extremely doom-laden. It also manages to hit like a ton of bricks while being the slowest and longest song. The spoken word outro brings some added emotion to the already condemning last number.
To conclude, Pillars Of Damnation is a mighty slab of arcane blackened death metal, with the ability to crush in both its slower and faster moments.