(I Hate Records, March 2016)
“Made by doom fans, for doom fans.” So says the I Hate Records promo pack for this excellent debut album from The Temple. And while it’s clear that this Greek band is thoroughly immersed in the finest traditions of doom metal (drawing inspiration from Solstice and Warning, amongst others) there is plenty of originality, drive and sparkle coursing through their music.
Album opener ‘The Blessing’ kicks off in style – a refined and well-crafted melodic doom romp. And the quality continues on ‘Qualms In Regret’ – in fact, the quality continues throughout the whole album. The Temple have a very well-defined notion of what makes a “true doom” composition, treading a fine line between beauty and dismay while never falling into the twin traps of melancholy or indulgence. The magnificent ‘Mirror Of Souls’ and ‘Beyond The Stars’ find the band – who formed back in 2005 but attracted attention with a 2015 self-released EP of old material – in imperious form.
Vocally, lyrically and musically, The Temple position themselves within a familiar framework – and in these elegant shackles they excel. ‘Forevermourn’ may not be as profound as Warning’s masterpiece ‘Watching From A Distance’, but it’s not far off. Each song brings a unique quality and adds something new and delightful to the overall experience of the album. The Temple have an ability to switch between time signatures or add in new elements without losing momentum. All of which adds up to a consistently enjoyable series of exquisitely-judged, heartfelt songs.
The clean vocals of Father Alex come across as a little over-earnest at times, lacking both the subtlety to evoke wider emotions and also the range to make some of the grander section truly come alive. You’ll find no growling here, only epic, melodic, heavy, tradition-hugging doom metal of the awesome kind. The band could perhaps introduce some layers to their music and sound (particularly with regards the disparity between shuddering bass and piercing guitar tones) in order to give their music greater depth and warmth. At times, it seems like everybody’s simply doing the same thing at the same time, and while this might help to keep the songs focused and intense it can also feel a little ponderous.
‘Forevermourn’ is a massively impressive debut album of classic, melodic doom metal that should win The Temple many fans with its integrity, vitality and timeless misery!