There are few thrash bands that mix occultism and Lovecraftian lyrics with classic death metal, grindcore and sludge. But Temple of Dagon prove that if you can do it well—and that’s a big IF—you should do it early and often. On their new EP, Revelations of the Spirit, they throw out huge guitars, throaty, obliterating vocals and crushing bass lines that bang your walls down like Dee Snider at an elementary school talent show. And in doing all that, they also reveal an exciting look at their future.
Revelations of the Spirit is a massive leap forward for Temple of Dagon. For one thing, the songs are much more focused and much, much more memorable. Second, the snare drum sound is now palatable. On their prior LP, Rituals of the Deep, its tuning was akin to a piccolo snare which, unless you’re Snapcase, is unacceptable. On Revelations of the Spirit the snare sound is deep and full matching the loose, sludgy bass and full, bellowing guitars reminiscent of Finnish doom. And the vocals…I can’t forget to mention how absolutely perfect and powerful the vocal work is on this album. But don’t worry, the sound is still distinctly southern California—calling to mind the sound of skateboards flying across pavement and boardwalks.
The star track is “The Horrid King,” a nearly seven-minute burner full of chugging, thick riffs and neck-bangers. Where the band’s older work might have cheated and pulled a blast beat or two as filler, that is not the case with this version of Temple of Dagon. Without cheating to fill space, their songs are not only burlier and more complete, but also actually standardly longer than their ancestors. While “The Horrid King” might be the standout, it’s not alone in its appeal—each song on the album is perfect in its own way.
Furthermore, Revelations of the Spirit perfectly showcases the band’s blend of old school influences, which combine to produce a robust new sound. It’s a hard-working, solidly written album that’s sure to get you up off your couch to do a few kickflips on your mom’s new hardwood floor. Temple of Dagon—in a “now or never” situation, having finally been blessed with a stable, complete lineup—simply put their heads down and power through.
This 10″ just absolutely kills. It’s angry, fast-paced and possesses plenty of staying power. I highly recommend giving it a few spins. On Revelations of the Spirit, you’re getting a more powerful, more brutal and more complete effort from Temple of Dagon than you’ve ever seen before. This is a band that’s always had promise, but up to this point, had always fallen just short of their vast potential. This time out—from the songwriting and execution to the production—consider that potential fulfilled. Slay or be slain!