|Musical Style: Melodic Thrash/Speed Metal||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2005||Artist Website: Temple Of Blood|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 42:10|
I always appreciate it when a band means business. And in the case of Madison, Alabama based Temple Of Blood, with its aptly titled 2005 full length debut Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind, they mean serious business. Playing a technical but melodic blend of power thrash and speed metal, the bands aggressive sound proves a throwback to the 80s thrash scene and easily invites a comparison to Megadeth, Dark Angel, Agents Steel, Annihilator, Mercyful Fate and old school Deliverance. An occasional classic metal or power metal tendency, at the same time, cannot help bring to mind the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Barren Cross as well.
Temple Of Blood got its start in late 2001 when founding member guitarist and vocalist Jim Mullis recruited drummer Lance Wright (Spinecast). Bassist Garth Lovvorn (Fleshized) was brought into the fold shortly thereafter. The newly formed power trio soon began playing live, performing covers of classic metal bands such as Iron Maiden, Overkill, Annihilator and many others. Once the band rounded out its line up with the addition of guitarist Matt Barnes, it started putting the finishing touches on the nine original tracks that would encompass its self-financed and independently released debut Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind. The name Temple Of Blood is inspired by I Corinthians 6:19, reflecting, in the bands words, “that our bodies are temples to the Lord and since our bodies are flesh and blood, we could say that we are each temples of blood.”
The level of musicianship here is quite high. Temple Of Blood revolves around the dual guitar attack of Matt Barnes and Jim Mullis, the two laying down a monstrous wall of rhythm guitar while trading off on lead guitar. Give tracks such as “Return To Eden” and “Legion Of The Crypts” several listens and you find the dual lead work of the two to be nothing less than head spinning. Mullis, in addition, brings a clean and melodic but mid-octave ranged vocal style, varying his delivery by often cutting loose in high pitched and falsetto fashion. Garth Lovvorn combines his technical bass lines with the power drumming and frenetic double bass of timekeeper Lance Wright to round out the rhythm section.
Production values, coming across slightly raw but crisp, would benefit with a touch of big budget polish. While by no means a detracting factor, there is room for improvement here.
Temple Of Blood, a band that considers its music a soundtrack to the coming Apocalypse, a herald of the war between good and evil, addresses topics ranging from Sodom & Gomorrah, Satan’s defeat and Christ’s crucifixion in its lyrics.
Please note that while Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind was released independently, it is available for purchase through CD Baby.
The bands trademark mega-tight guitar harmony helps to shore up the instrumental section introducing album opener “Destruction Of The Twin Cities”. Forging through its first verse to an edgy rhythm guitar, the song culminates for a melodic based chorus buttressed by rapid double bass. As its title implies,“Destruction Of The Twin Cities” deals with Sodom & Gomorrah:
The cities teemed with the dregs, wicked in thought and deed
Pleasure was gained in suffering and pain,
and wealth from lies and deceit
The outcry was shouted loud, over its mighty stone walls
Then darkness loomed as clouds of gloom,
eclipsed the sun from them all
“Conviction” is a three minute avalanche of hard hitting riffs and machine gun fire double bass. The minute long instrumental section at the start of the song begins at an almost laid back, mid-tempo pace before an abrupt time change is made to an all out speed metal assault. Advancing through its verse portions at a frenzied upbeat tempo, an aggressive environment is put in place as the song transitions to an intensely delivered chorus focusing on the salvation experience:
Conviction, brought back from death
I’m reborn, awakened, rising again, I’m restored
“Return To Eden”, the albums shortest track at 2:42, reflects a more straightforward power metal vibe not unlike Jacobs Dream. A crunch laden riff opens the song before an abundance of up-tempo momentum evenly leads the way to a quickly moving and non-stop hook filled chorus. Mullis and Barnes dual on lead guitar throughout the extent of an energetic instrumental section. This one really stands out with its catchy hook.
The seven minute “Spiritual Warfare” begins to a lengthy instrumental section driven by an anthem-like riff underscored by tight sounding double bass. Slowing after one minute, “Spiritual Warfare” tapers off even further as it proceeds through its first verse only to break out in energetic fashion as it reaches a fleeting chorus in which Mullis exclaims, “We fight for the glory of God!”. Temple Of Blood showcases the strength of its instrumental sound throughout the sweeping instrumental passage following the songs second verse.
“Trampling The Serpent” takes off to a wall of rhythm guitar that gives way to an all out double bass driven speed metal riff. Maintaining its aggressive edge during its verse portions, the song culminates for a brief but catchy chorus bolstered by a touch of deep sounding vocal harmonies. Several seconds of lightning-like lead guitar work tops off one of the albums stronger tracks. “Trampling The Serpent” talks about doing exactly that:
The lord of all lies, cunning serpent
Preying on lost souls of adolescents
He leads the way to knowledge and strength?
But wisdom survives and faith perseveres
The way has endured for untold years
Life’s understanding slips through their grasp
Trampling the serpent!
“Seeking The Truth” gets underway to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar before taking off hard and heavy once the rhythm section kicks in. Picking up in pace in a catchy manner to an abundance of rapid double bass, “Seeking The Truth” moves on to a hook-filled chorus highlighted by Mullis’ falsetto vocal delivery. Again, another one of the albums stronger and more memorable tracks.
“Legion Of The Crypts” gives rise to a pugnacious feel as it aggressively advances through its verse portions, the edge-laden atmosphere maintained as it reaches a chorus giving rise to a plethora of infectious attention getting appeal. Barnes and Mullis once more decorate the scene with another fiery dual lead guitar trade off. Great song.
An even blend of acoustic and bass guitar helps to slowly lead “The Ultimate Sacrifice” through its first three verses. Once a swell of rhythm guitar bursts in, however, the song makes a sudden time change to a more assertive direction as it moves through its fourth and final verse in emotional fashion. Barnes follows with more of his technical work on lead guitar. I enjoy how the acoustic guitar returns over the songs final minute as Mullis solos in the background. “The Ultimate Sacrifice” details Christ’s crucifixion:
He gave all He had and they took all He gave
He asked God to forgive them as His last breath escaped
The lamb has been slain and the offering was paid
With blood form an innocent man who never deserved such shame
“Realm Of Insufferable Burning (The Horrors Of Hells)” - say that ten times fast! - is a mouthful of a title but it proves a solid compositions nonetheless. Taking off with a ton of thrash flavored impetus, “Realm Of Insufferable Burning (The Horrors Of Hells)” forges through its first verse to just the right amount double bass prior to culminating for a chorus delivered by a profusion of the bands all out hard hitting energy. An incredible three minute instrumental section follows that begins in a slower, almost doom-like manner only to pick up in pace at its end.
Deadly Blessing lead vocalist Ski makes a guest appearance on the cover of his bands songs “Deliver Us From Evil”. Opening quietly before an anthem-like riff kicks in as Ski takes over with his high-pitched vocal style, the song proves a very good raucous and up-tempo hard rocker showcasing a solid hook and more ardent dual lead work from Barnes and Mullis.
Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind stands out as a very fine and consistent work in that all ten of its tracks hold up under repeated play. Give the band, at the same time, a great deal of credit for the technical expertise and top notch musicianship it displays here. In the end, the album comes with a strong recommendation to not only fans of the thrash/speed metal genres but those into classic metal and power metal as well.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Destruction Of The Twin Cities” (3:01), “Conviction” (3:10), “Return To Eden” (2:42), “Spiritual Warfare (7:02), “Trampling The Serpent” (3:52), “Seeking The Truth” (3:44), “Legion Of The Crypts” (3:21), “The Ultimate Sacrifice” (5:13), “Realm Of Insufferable Burning (The Horrors Of Hells)” (5:27), “Deliver Us From Evil” (4:33)
Jim Mullis – Lead vocals & Guitars
Matt Barnes – Guitars
Garth Lovvorn – Bass
Lance Wright – Drums
Ski – Lead Vocals
Also Reviewed: Temple Of Blood - Overlord