Temple of Blood - Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind (independent) 2006
1. "Destruction of
the Twin Cities" (3:01)
Wow! Do bands still make real speed metal and thrash like this? Obiously so! "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind" is prime heavy metal. Speedy riffs, choice guitar solos, pounding bass, double bass and more double bass. My first observation is that some people are going to be turned off by the vocals, which while clean sound very much like the stuff you might have heard on some of the early Metal Massacre compiliation with bands like Savage Grace, Surgical Steel and Virgin Steele. Surely any true metalhead will remember the days when the higher the vocalist, the better. Well, that's what you get here too. There are lots of high, falsetto vocals mixed with some more mid-range vox and absolutely no gruff or growled vocals at all. Ahhh, but those were the days when metal was fresh and wasn't confused by the many, many subgenres we have today. Temple of Blood take me back to those days. If I had to compare them to somebody, I'd say they were a mixture of bands like Toxik, Realm, Nasty Savage and perhaps a bit of Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest. It's hard to put into words, but "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind" brought back that same sort of excitement that those early classic bands had. One big difference between Temple of Blood and many of those early metal bands is in the lyrics, which here are mostly Biblically based. This only adds to the appeal for me. Temple of Blood is flying their banner high for true metal. Long live true metal!
The bonus track is a cover version of Deadly Blessing's "Deliver Us From Evil" featuring guest vocals by Ski. I forgot to mention this song in the review above, but it rules and is a cool way to finish off the CD.
1. "Descent into Treachery"
Temple of Blood return with their second onslaught of U.S. steel! Metal banner held high, Temple of Blood are unashamed of being a metal band. They wear their influences on their sleeves and are darned proud of it. "Overlord" is cram packed with traditional speed metal licks and tricks. Throughout this CD you will hear influences from bands like Savage Grace, Dark Angel, Overkill , Megadeth, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. One song even has a Sabbath and Candlemass influence. "Black Day of Execution" is a metallic doom metal number which undoubtedly was inspired by the masters of doom. This album also includes a cover of "Forbidden Evil" originally by Bay Area thrashers Forbidden. Despite this, Temple of Blood managed to merge all of these influences while still sounding unique enough to not be labeled a clone of any one particular band.
The band seems to have stepped a few things up from their debut. The song writing, while sticking pretty close to traditional metal song structures, seem to have become a bit more complex and offer more variety and distinction from song to song. Temple of Blood still sound as if they could have been a veteran band on Metal Blade circa 1986. They just seem to have that sound down to a science. Speedy, galloping riffs, dual guitar solos, shredding guitar solos, lots of fancy footwork on the bass drum, and sky-high vocals.
As with "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind", vocalist Jim Mullins sings with high-pitched, clean vocals that sounds like a mix of Messiah Marcolin (Candlemass) and John Cyriis (ex-Agent Steel) with a touch of Nasty Ronnie (Nasty Savage) thrown in. Unfortunately the vocals are mixed way behind the music, almost to the point of distraction. There was a few points as I was listening to the CD where I couldn't even tell if he was singing or not, especially in the first few lines of opening track "Behind the Inverted Cross". Before writing this review, however, I listened to this CD several times on several different systems. When I first played "Overlord" it was at maximum volume in my six speaker car stereo. When I later played the CD at a much lower volume on my crappy Wal-Mart stereo at work, the vocals became less of an issue. They are still low in the mix, but I didn't find it quite as distracting, or perhaps I just started getting use to it. Basically, "Overlord" was mixed by the band's drummer and it sounds that way. You won't miss a single snare hit or any of the cymbal work, but the vocals are definitely secondary in the mix. Those who remember the glory days of metal in the 80's might remember albums by bands like Warlord that had equally off-kilter mixes. In it's heyday, metal was never about perfect production, but about the songs and the attitude. There is plenty of that present on "Overlord".
I doubt the average metal fan will find much to dislike about "Overlord". In a world filled with metalcore clones and derivative pop rock, a band like Temple of Blood stands tall and bears the flag for real heavy metal.