Temple of Dread Unleash Brutal Death Metal with Beyond Acheron

Death Metal trio Temple Of Dread hail from the tiny East Frisian island of Spiekeroog, which sits between the often harsh North Sea and the northern coast of Germany. The isle’s only Death Metal band, they are now set to release their fourth studio album, Beyond Acheron.

Temple Of Dread – Beyond Acheron (Testimony Records)

Release Date: 11 August 2023

Words: Jools Green

Temple Of Dread came into being in 2017 when guitarist Markus Bünnemeyer felt the urge to unleash his old school Death Metal ambitions. He was joined by singer Jens Finger and drummer Jörg Uken, all three of whom are current or former members of German Horror-infused Death Metal outfit Slaughterday. They have maintained this stable line-up ever since their inception.

Temple Of Dread - Beyond Acheron
Temple Of Dread – Beyond Acheron – Out 11 August 2023

Temple Of Dread have, once again, for Beyond Acheron, enrolled the help of their friend and word-smith, psychologist Frank Albers. Albers also provided the lyrics for the first two of their albums, 2019’s Blood Craving Mantras and 2020’s World Sacrifice. Ho, once again, provides an array of intelligent and fascinatingly gory texts revolving around ancient myth and history, featuring characters such as Icarus, Vulcan, Hades, Cleopatra, and Mark Anthony.

However, Beyond Acheron is not a concept album. Classical themes run, like “Ariadne’s red thread,” through all aspects of the release. This classical aspect is also reflected in the cover artwork, created by Italian artist Paolo Girardi and depicts an eerie and beautifully detailed Charon, the ferryman who, according to legend, helps the souls of the dead to cross the River Styx to the Greek underworld Hades provided they have a coin to pay for their passage.

Clearly, a huge amount of thought has gone into both the artwork and the lyrics, and the trio match that with their hugely engaging sound. 

Beyond Acheron is nine tracks of brutality that opens on the scene setting, atmospheric instrumental builder Charon’s Call, before bursting into the title track, the blackened, up-tempo death driver Beyond Acheron. A hugely engaging and attention-grabbing piece, the title track gallops along, sweeping everything up in its wake, bursting into high-speed, thrashy, head-turning leadwork mid-way through that dominates a large chunk of the middle of the track superbly.

World Below opens with dark, sinister intent before breaking into a drive with an ebb and builds shrouded in darkness, taking a dramatically atmospheric semi-symphonic turn in the second half and delivering hauntingly expressive leadwork. 

The seven-minute monster Damnation, one of my favourite pieces, is very atmospheric to open, again semi-symphonic in a cinematic manner, with blackened undertones and superb riffs that err on the edge of exotic, making a haunting repeat. This develops into a sublime chunk of leadwork that punches through the melody, dominating the middle part of the track superbly before returning to a darker atmosphere. A superbly impactful piece.

Dance Of Decay starts with an intense drive, interspersed with punchier segments, then bursts into squealing, thrashy second-half leadwork that ends dramatically and is followed by an equally dramatic dark direction switch and tempo drop.

All-Consuming Fire has a sinister opening chug that builds with menace, and the lead guitarwork, which soars above the repeat riff and gravelly growls, definitely adds an atmosphere reminiscent of kindling flames. Breaking into a driving beast of a track, subtly infused with darker elements, when it pares back midway, the more exotic-styled riffing returns briefly before breaking out into an engulfing inferno of a drive all the way to the close of the track.

For The Plague, Temple Of Dread have enlisted the vocal talents of Insidious Disease vocalist Marc Grewe to add extra density, richness and layering to the vocal department on an already crushing and dense driving beast of a track. The riffs develop a complexity out of which the soaring burst of superb second-half leadwork emerges, taking the track to a whole new level before settling back into that menacingly chugging crush from before.

With its haunting opener, Carnality Device settles back into the familiar undulating, driving death chug and acidic growls. But a couple of minutes in and it drops back to a haunting reflective melody, rebuilding as the vocals return. This pattern repeats between vocal bursts. I absolutely love the contrast delivered here. Then, midway through the second half, you get a superb burst of squealing, thrashy leadwork. A superb track that is another favourite with me. 

Straight off the starting block, Asebeia fires at you an absolute barrage of riffs, a driving onslaught of a track with a subtler dark undercurrent that combined takes no prisoners, and the squealing leadwork hits the spot too.  

The final piece, the instrumental Hades, is a slower, dark and sinister piece, compounded by precise singular drum beats. The tremolo picking adds to the diabolical atmosphere created here, building further with sinister keyboards. A track that is far more than an outro; it’s a closing statement. I love it!

The production of Beyond Acheron is as impressive as the rest of the album, recorded and produced by drummer Jörg at Soundlodge Tonstudio, which he owns, a recording venue popular with the likes of Dew-Scented, God Dethroned and Suicidal Angels.

Beyond Acheron is a blisteringly good listen end to end.

Available as a limited-edition vinyl in a range of colours or in CD format or digital download from Bandcamp and Testimony Records.

Sleeve Notes

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