PICK OF THE WEEK: Temple of Void unload dreary death-doom that mauls on ‘Summoning the Slayer’

The whole world feels like one horror after another, which cannot be good for our mental health. We referred to escapism earlier in the week, though, so leaning into terrifying chaos that isn’t stomping and snarling outside our doors still can be something enthralling. There also is the chance to align with darkness so that we can deal with the trauma we’re battling inside our minds.

That leads us to Michigan-based death-doom destroyers Temple of Void who have rampaged back with their excellent new record “Summoning the Slayer,” the band’s first effort for Relapse Records. The band’s fourth record continues their rampaging power and immersive strength, basking in the ugliness of the world but also providing some room to escape into their foggy devastation that is both intimidating and enthralling. The band—vocalist Mike Erdody, guitarists Don Durr and Alex Awn, bassist Brent Satterly, drummer Jason Pearce—makes the most of this seven-track, 40-minute opus, delivering a record that’ll keep the audience they’ve amassed more than satisfied and turning on newcomers to one of the best death-doom bands operating.

“Behind the Eye” gets this record off to a balmy start, trudging through murky waters, the growls crushing your will to live. The snarling pace gets heavier as it heads into steamy terrain, beastly growls attempt to remove your bowels, and the playing bubbles and punishes, everything evaporating. “Deathtouch” is morbid and slowly churns, the leads opening and feeding the flames that are beginning to roar. The pace picks up as the body blows rain down harder, the guitars cause a chill to capture you, and Erdody wails, “Memories turn to dust.” The sadness intensifies as a synth gaze causes the walls to crumble, and the playing smears and bleeds into “Engulfed” that lets the pressure build slowly. The playing is dizzying and makes your head spin, and the growls echo in the background, only adding to the disorientation. The humidity wilts as the guitars create a thick steam, the vocals crush anew, and the anguish floods your senses until you’re left floating in a sea of tears.

“A Sequence of Rot” starts with the bass sprawling and the playing fluttering, deep growls digging into your organs. Guitars bleed as the pace lurches open, punishing and picking up speed before it ends in a slogging horror. “Hex, Curse, & Conjuration” is a fairly short track, something that gets in, does damage, and gets out. The riffs encircle, the drums maul, and ugly growls lean into gloomy waters as the final nails are pounded in hard. “The Transcending Horror” dawns in watery guitars and growls that slither through the muck, eerie and mystical powers thickening the cloud cover. The playing pummels heavily, ripping into a brief silence before the explosive jolts causes seismic bedlam again, slipping away into a space haze. Closer “Dissolution” is a huge departure not only from the rest of the songs on this record but from their entire catalog. It’s largely acoustic with clean singing and a cloudy aura, showing you a more vulnerable side, a different angle to their sadness and despair that leaves you haunted and shaken.

Temple of Void’s jump to Relapse came at a great time as “Summoning the Slayer” is some of their strongest work to date, a great way to introduce themselves to a wider audience. The depth of misery and the explosion of death-laced doom is enough to keep you filled for a long period, the content putting meat on your bones, an aching in your heart. This is a devastating statement, a deep, heavy shot to any hope you had that one day, things are going to be brighter. You’re better off knowing that’s a fantasy you’ll never realize.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/TempleOfVoid/

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/temple-of-void-summoning-the-slayer

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords