OBSCURE TERROR: FLESHTEMPLE, SATURNALIA TEMPLE, IMPURITY
So what have we got here? Three new favorites: two recently discovered and one that’s finally grown on me. Something new, something kind of new, and something really old. Two “temples” and some South American madness. Varying shades of blasphemy. Loud, ugly, and evil as fuck. Check ‘em out.
Not to be confused with Fleshpress (which I totally did at first glance), New Jersey’s Fleshtemple are an bastardized punk band based in DIY stronghold New Brunswick, and they are tough as SHIT. Hardcore punk roots burst through the black, but there are plenty of full-on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas moments on here, and when they slow it down to a doomier, more atmospheric crawl, the results are wickedly effective. The recordings are rough (duh) but the foggy, raw presentation adds to its charm. Fleshtemple formed in 2007 and includes members of Seasick, Bible Thumper, Suburban Scum, and “like ten other current bands,” according to guitarist Pete August. They’ve already got three releases out, but I’m really interested to check out the full length they’re working on (due out in April). For now, listen to their latest recording for free on Bandcamp.
Electric Wizard definitely get ripped off a lot nowadays (while they in turn gleefully ripped off plenty of Sleep and ‘Sabbath riffs – it’s a vicious circle, eh?) but at least one of the bands that continually get graced (or slammed) with the “Electric Wizard worship” tag doesn’t really deserve it. That band is Sweden’s Saturnalia Temple. Similarities exist of course, but this shadowy trio conjure up a different sort of vibe, an air of madness and menace. Less druglust, more ancient abattoir clouded with incense and the blood of ritual sacrifice. Saturnalia Temple are obsessed with the occult and the esoteric, black magic and ancient secrets, and manage to instill that unsettling otherness into their doomed creation. Heavy, heavy distortion cloaks their compositions, lazy, hazy stoner riffs slink and sway. It almost sounds as though the record’s skipping, the needle moved by unseen hands. Above all, the creepy, moaning vocals are the strangest component – stuttering, echoing, and unhinged to the point of distraction. An acquired taste worth acquiring. Formed in Stockholm in 2006, they’ve spent the last few years honing their craft, releasing quality albums (check out their Ur demo, they were solid right from the start!) and just recently offered up their first full-length, Aion of Drakon (via the AJNA Offensive).
Impurity just may be the best cover-turned-tribute band since the Carcass-baiting and ever so genteel The County Medical Examiners (or Eat My Fuk – have you heard that shit? Autopsy’s GG Allin worship project? Fantastically gross scum punk!). Originally formed under the Sexfago moniker in 1988 and dedicated to playing gloriously primitive versions of already bestial bands like Hellhammer, Blasphemy, Bathory, and, of fucking course, Sarcofago, Impurity eventually decided to switch gears and try their hands at writing their own material. Their first demo’s worth of original songs surfaced in 1989 (guess rehearsing all three minutes of “Satanic Lust” over and over lost its appeal pretty early in the game), and while their influences are glaringly obvious (SarcoBlaspheHammer!) Impurity are an excellent example of why “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” works so well in a black metal sense. Officially aligned with Brazil’s beyond legendary Cogumelo Records and with over twenty years of ritualized combat under their bulletbelts, these South American maniacs are still fucking killing it. Their last full-length, Necro Infamists of Tumulus Return, slays, and I can’t find their 2010 demo The Impurity Temple/Bonus 2008 anywhere, but I bet that fucking rules, too.
Their 1996 LP Into the Ritual Chamber is my favorite:
Kim Kelly (or Grim Kim, if we’re being formal) scribbles for a number of sweet metal publications (Terrorizer, Brooklyn Vegan, Invisible Oranges, Hails & Horns, and tons more), promotes wicked records with Catharsis PR, and road dogs for your favorite bands. Keep up with her exploits & numerous band recommendations on Twitter, or peep her blog Ravishing Grimness.