Temple Of Void are a doom/death act that hail from Detroit, Michigan, gaining a fairly healthy following with their three studio albums. The World That Was is the most recent, following up as the first full-length since 2017’s Lords Of Death. Bands of this style tend to be some of the most grueling, darkening their approach to extreme levels in order to drag the listener down to the moist pits of horror. But I’d say that Temple Of Void mold a slightly warmer brand, which is somewhat reflected on the colorful album sleeve.
Something like that can go multiple ways. The World That Was is very much an effort needing a few listens to really digest, as it’s rather vague and unclear. Softer passages and cleaner approaches are used very regularly. Fortunately, they work themselves in without feeling like awkward transitions, but at the same time I found a lot of it to be unflattering. “Self-Schism” dials back the electric stomps a bit too much, which would be fine if the cleaner licks were more interesting. Furthermore, opener “A Beast Among Us” quiets the second half down completely and descends in a way that feels like the instruments lose their wailing life. I can’t knock that too much, because this adds the life-draining feeling that the band was clearly aiming to achieve, but that still doesn’t automatically make it pleasant.
Thankfully, the back half offers ideas that firmly grasp you by the ear. “Leave The Light Behind” is easily the best song, adding effects and atmospheric build over explosive riffing that’s pulled off incredibly. To my surprise, there was also some clean singing weaved into it, which complimented the sharper leads that arc behind the forefront. If the entire disc was like this, it would have been a masterpiece. The longer songs at the end are definitely a step-up from what’s let on in the beginning but can get tiresome in their own way if not in the right mindset. They’re beefy enough, though.
What it boils down to is that if you can get past the underwhelming start to the disc, you should be fine. Save for one song, the back half isn’t overly incredible or anything, but it’s serviceable for sure. The little two-minute acoustic piece “A Single Obulus” is a soothing number to indicate when things start to go upward. People who love their death metal extra doomy should give this a whirl, but don’t expect anything too filthy or mind-blowing.
The World That Was came out on March 27th, 2020 through Shadow Kingdom Records. Find a copy at the label’s website or the Bandcamp. It’s available in black and colored vinyl, CD, and cassette. There are also shirts available.