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A Fulfilling Masterpiece of Instrumentation - 88%

PassiveMetalhead, November 11th, 2015

With a three year gap between Tempel’s debut album, “On The Steps Of The Temple”, and their sophomore album “The Moon Lit Our Path” you may imagine that the latter may not live up to the ruthless assault of fierce instrumentation as the former. Thankfully, not only has the Arizonian duo’s new album reached the steps to the temple, but it’s climbed them to astral heights of their post metal magic to new heavens of wild sounds that Tempel have built their foundations on.

Nearly every band feels pride when a new album is completed however few posses any comparable passion that Ryan Wenzel (guitars, keyboards) and Rich Corle (drums) replicate on this album. Tempel are an instrumentation band therefore the visions in their heads have to be deciphered sonically and somehow projected into the minds of others. To do this is no easy task. The way this album maps out a storyline in your head is largely down to the mixing because this is 52 minute journey through landscapes of despair, desperation, dejection and any other feelings you may absorb (not limited to beginning with the letter D). Ironically this is the only drawback to the album- you have to ‘be-in-the-mood’ for this kind of listening experience as it’s difficult to pick out stand out moments from such a wholesome album. Before you even listen to it just take a moment to gaze over the album artwork as this alone should act as a pictorial narrative to the ensuing anecdotes.

It begins when the ‘Carvings In The Door’ open to expose you to the elements with a storm of thrashy rigorousness and shivering blast beats however mid way through, daylight shines upon a bountiful land of melodic guitars and mid paced drums. Day turns to night and just as the darkness begins to embody you, ‘The Moon Lit Our Path’ along a passage of bleak pulsating tremolo picking. With only the moonlight to guide the way forward, Tempel tread carefully and rarely alter the tempo, following a steady yet repetitive road.

When ‘Descending Into The Labyrinth’, Tempel engage a new tone of confusing dynamics to resemble the jagged twists and turns of the maze. They go from belligerent black metal stamps to elegant strikes of post metal and then to moving folky acoustics until reaching ‘The Tomb Of The Ancients’. This is an archaic place yet it has lost none of the furious blazes of vehemence that the duo conjures. It’s also perilous place where prolonged guitar hooks echo cavernously within the halls of the dead and whatever light once portrayed has been extinguished by the whirlwind of enraged soloing.

We’ve been lead on a threatening journey and finally a blissful ‘Dawn Breaks Over The Ruins’ announces our final ascent to the heavens with relaxed acoustics. This is only momentary however as an onslaught of enrapturing tremolo guitar and cantering drums rains down from the skies. The varying tempo, acoustics, pitch and contrasting moods encompass the album completely and showcase just how talented Tempel are. Finally, the blissful dawn explodes over a desolate sky in an eruption of intoxicating solos. The build up and release of this is such a gratifying finale to the album it leaves you simply spellbound.