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Temple Of Lies 'The Serial Killer Suite' Release 1st July via Attic Records
The Serial Killer Suite by Temple of Lies explodes with a heavy tonal vibrancy right from the start, immediately showcasing both the tight and rhythm heavy sound of the band as well as the impressive vocals of lead singer Si Shaw in "Epic Doom." The aforementioned opening track lets the listener know right away that they're in for a heavy and even somewhat theatrical ride, with a particularly exciting enthusiasm from the vocals. The track finishes with daunting laughter in the background. A very interesting start to an album, indeed.
The Serial Killer Suite then naturally moves into its distinct metal and Stoner Rock roots, with “Illusion of Choice.” On this track we begin to see what definitely turns out to be a penchant for profundity from the lyricist, urging the listener to consider the choice of their fate with lines like “Separate the heathen from yourself” and “Every temple is a temple of lies.” Overall the album's sound is incredibly together in the rhythm section, with a higher energy than the casual listener might expect from a band with Stoner Rock influences. Throughout the course of the album Temple of Lies keeps a complimentary flow going between slamming beats from the drums and bass and bouncing grooves from the guitar, entertaining the listener with its heavy and precise rhythm section and growling vocals. There's almost a Nu Metal vibe that creeps in on tracks like "Modus Operandi" and “Nihilist Dreams,” which add to the definition of the sound, keeping the album from becoming too repetitive.
All that being said I admit that I would have enjoyed hearing a bit more solo work from the fiery Jon Scranney like the fresh, but quick, set of licks he lays out in the middle of "Broken Mind." There seems to be a distinct lack of expanding lead guitar work present on the album, which is a disappointment even if only because the few lead riffs we do get to hear are so well done. It could easily be said, of course, that having one guitarist causes them to lean on the rhythm section but Scranney makes up with his lack of lead with a firm basis of heavy hitting grooves in the uptempo tracks and sludgy “Doomish” riffs in the downtempo tracks.
The vocals, while excellently executed, are just a tad unevenly mixed in some parts, sirening over the music in a way that comes off as a bit cutting to the tone at times. Perhaps this is an issue of personal taste, but it does feel like the overall sound of some tracks could benefit from a slight mixing down of the vocals, or perhaps a beefing up of the guitar tone. I would say that the somewhat off nature of the mix is one of the larger issues for me, but I don't think it will keep listeners from appreciating Shaw's vocal talents or the talents of the rest of the band by any means.
One final complaint would be that the influence of earlier metal bands such as Metallica are easily detectable in the band's music, giving them a somewhat dated sound in some nooks and crannies of the album. However, tracks such as “I Cut You Bleed,” bring back that feeling of what would seem to be a much more nu metal, sort of korn influenced sound to the album. Tracks like this balance out the moments that come across with a more classic metal sound. Fortunately for both the band and the listener, the album has a modern consistency and a thumping sound that should appease younger musical pallets. Temple of Lies really seems to be working as a unit on this album, with a diverse array of sub-genre influences expertly peppered throughout songs without a note out of place. There are distinct hints of Thrash in some parts, as well as grunge which easily compliments the Stoner Rock vibe rooted in the core of the sound. This versatility also helps to keep repetition out of the viewers ear, to favorable effect.
I'd have to say my favorite tracks are “Sleep” and the closing track “Nihilist Dreams” for showcasing the sometimes under flaunted lead guitar ability of Jon Scranney and the level of writing on the lyrics. There's a touch of concern for the moral quandaries posed in the songs that is emphasized with Shaw's theatrical and empathetic tone of voice. Overall the album does have a somewhat dated tone and a mix that leaves something to be desired, but makes up for what few shortcomings it has with an ample amount of raw energy, forceful musicianship, interesting lyricism, and a whole lot of tight, well orchestrated chest pounding metal. The Serial Killer Suite is a fun listen, sure to please anyone looking for a tight hard rock sound with a nice edge and profound lyrics, and it stands as a solid Junior effort for Temple of Lies.
Favorite Track: “Sleep”
While The Serial Killer Suite isn't going to change your life, it is a solid album with an eclectic sub-genre mix. I found myself listening to it repeatedly, despite the few faults I was able to find in it. Its appeal naturally shines through when you catch yourself nodding your head to a chunky groove.
- Mark H. Simmons II
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