Temple of Blood - Prepare for the judgement of mankind 3.5/5

Reviewed: 4-14-06





Tracklist:

1. Destruction of the twin cities
2. Conviction
3. Spiritual warfare
4. Tramping the serpent
5. The ultimate sacrifice
6. Seeking the truth
7. Legion of the crypts
8. Realm of insuffferable burning (the horrors of hell)
9. Return to Eden
10. Deliver us from evil


I was recently contacted by this band to review their first Christian thrash offering. I have been a fan of Christian metal for almost 2 decades, so I was very eager to finally hear them. Actually, I had recalled seeing them mentioned in an issue of "Metal Maniacs", and had definitely planned to order the CD; yet I neglected to follow through. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, so with steadfast conviction, I am pleased to finally present the non-wicked mystics who shred while under the influence of the Holy Spirit: Temple of blood!

The main songwriter Jim Mullis serves as both guitarist and vocalist. When I asked him about his influences and who inspired him to create such fast and furious fretboard frenetics, I was surprised when he named so many secular bands such as Annihilator, Dark Angel, Death, Mercyful Fate, and other classic 80s thrash metal merchants. What astonished me was his omission and actual despondency for the one band Temple of blood most resemble. These guys are pure Manilla Road in the glory days, especially 'Out of the abyss' era. Jim's vocals even remind me of Mark Shelton. This is not to say that they are mere clones; quite the contrary. These wild-ride southern boys really know how to present their speed metal. Some songs like "Trampling the serpent" & "Realm of insufferable burning (the horrors of hell)" are blazing like the very fires of hell they pray so fervently that we withstand. I'm reminded of Metal Blade's Viking or Katon de Pena's shrill cries from Hirax. The other guitarist Matt Barnes demonstrates his love for metal by proudly wearing a Nocturnus shirt in his photo while Jim bridles the stage in his befitting Overkill t-shirt. On certain cuts, I definitely hear hints of vintage Nocturnus as well minus all the keyboards.

Obviously Temple of blood take their music and message very seriously as songs like "Seeking the truth" confirm. The name of the band is inspired by the qoute from Scripture 1 Corinthians 6:19 - "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which we have of God, and ye are not your own!" (KJV). I'm very familiar with this passsage and I often quote it myself from the original Greek which Paul wrote in. The essence of this passage is to protect your sacred vessel - the body - which the Lord has given you. The band firmly believe in this, and want their fans to really listen, not just hear the message.

Most of the lyrics, save a few songs, are not overtly judgemental. Non-Christians metalheads should not dismiss the band's overall good tidings, no matter what their personal beliefs. The title of the CD may lead one to assume that this is another Christian band whom attempt to proselytize. This appears to be corroborated by the eschatological cover artwork which portrays a barren cross amidst apocalyptic turmoil. However, Temple of Blood are not that type of band who want to choke you with their dogmatic bile and drown you in the theoretic godfearing quagmire. I respect their beliefs and appreciate them for playing what is most sacred to their hearts. I especially enjoy the choice of them playing what same may refer to as dated speed metal. They chose speed metal because that is what they love to write and play. If we are all consigned to neglect, then I convey obeisance for a band who enjoy metal and serve the Lord in this manner.

Another killer bonus to this CD is their decision to cover the classic Deadly Blessing anthem "Deliver us from evil" with Ski from Deadly Blessing's performing the vocals. They do such justice to this track, that I prefer this over the original. The only criticisms which I have for this CD is it's running length of 42 minutes. Some songs are just a tad too short. Just when I am getting into thrashing for Christ, the song ends. Then again these songs are really intense and definitely pure metal. Also, there is one slower track "The ultimate sacrifice". When I first played this CD with its undulating guitar interpolations and abrupt time changes, I was expecting a song similar to Tourniquet or perhaps even the English Dogs song itself. In reality this is their version of a power ballad. Musically it's tolerable. Lyrically, I understand the purpose of this song dedicated to the saviour. I just feel a band with this much potential could have transformed this into another blistering powermad arrangement. There is an excellent solo in the middle, though that keeps me from skipping over this track altogether.

Overall, I am extremely impressed with this charismatic burnt offering which serves as a true testament to their faith. The production is relatively decent, and the band sells this CD for a very fair price at their website. So take a chance and invest yourselves by participating in their spiritual warfare that we may all overcome this flesh and blood and return to Eden.



MICHAEL




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