Published Jun 16, 2015Like many hackneyed superlatives in our vernacular, the word "epic" is quickly becoming overused to describe anything that is simply — or even remotely — notable. In its truest sense, it implies grandiose landscapes, lengthy journeys, and heroic sagas.
Much like Neurosis, Phoenix's Tempel write epic compositions in many shades of metal: doom, black, progressive and post-metal. This latter category is where their newest slab, The Moon Lit Our Path, is rightly filed, but the music offers much more than that simplistic tag. "Carvings in the Door" starts out doomily before double-timing the pace into a melodic black-metal hybrid evoking Long Distance Calling. The lilting acoustic chords of "Dawn Breaks Over the Ruins" waltz in like Metallica's mood-changer "Nothing Else Matters," only to combust in a black-metal mêlée of jagged riffs and snare staccatos, as if Extreme were guesting with Endstille. "Tomb of the Ancients" sports thrash sections like career-apex Anthrax punctuated by soulful, Marty Friedman-esque soloing.
Tempel aren't inventing a new subgenre; instead, they mightily augment the post-whatever-core world with incredibly dynamic and accessible black-metal progressions. (Prosthetic Records)