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Temple of Baal - Traitors To Mankind - 90%

_DooM_, July 7th, 2007

I am unfond of Christianity and some of the people who practice it, as well. So something does appeal to me about the single mindedness of some black metal acts. In true metal fashion they use hyperbole to drive home their disgust with whatever is bugging them, and for many of them that thing is the religion of choice in the West. But you know, everything has a shelf life. I mean, yeah, I used to laugh about burying fundies in their own entrails and all that too, but frankly they are a little too real in my country at this point for mere scorn. I am rather of the opinion it’s time to grow up on this issue.

So another dose of “rape the son of God in his spear hole” is sounding like a four year old threatening to break his toys if mommy doesn’t buy him a puppy to me. Just shut up already. But if you aren’t going to shut up, then I guess you can at least paint your crappy word pictures over the sound of well recorded punkened black metal. Quite unlike the boring sewer trout that was Surrender of Divinity, this stuff is where metal belongs: loud, decently - if recklessly performed and at least fairly heavy. You can hear what the guitarist is playing, you can follow along with the beat the drummer and bassist are keeping, and the singer doesn’t sound like an enema bomb in an aluminum can. It’s like heaven with bondage bars.

The best thing about this album is the abandon. I have a soft spot for reckless playing, as long as it doesn’t become idiotic. If you can play your shit and you choose to put moment over method, you are making good things happen, more often than not. Compositionally, they are breaking no new ground. Kind of what the Crown would have sounded like if they went black, or Immortal if they were punkier. But the spark of ferocity keeps things from becoming overplayed. The tempos range from frozen moshing to blast and roll to hateful dirges. The production is a little on the top heavy side, but it fits the band’s immediacy.

The bottom line is this is an entertaining bit of bile that, while full of clichés delivers the thing that metal fans need most from their records: fucking METAL. Abrasive, hateful yet never succumbing to the pull of the obnoxious uberunderground, this record pounds heavy nails into the flesh of whatever martyr you decide works for you. Do not expect perfection, but do expect passion.