Temple Of Lies – ‘From Sand’ Album Review

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Bands like Temple of Lies come along but rarely. One of those unique and truly special underground bands that have been fortunate enough to build a name for themselves around good song writing and an unerringly genuine commitment to making music, there is not a hint of artifice about the band and, as a live force, they are nothing short of phenomenal. It is, therefore, with no small amount of pleasure that I note that since their last, astonishing, long player, Temple of Lies have taken things to the next level, signing a distribution deal with Attic Records and appearing in stores across the country. The band’s success is organic and utterly deserved and, it seems, ‘from sand’ will see the Temple of Lies name spread still further.

Opening with the clean swing of ‘rope’, Temple of Lies still pack that Tad-esque punch that was first noted on the band’s debut. It’s the same grungy, ‘greasy’ sound that Metallica promised (yet failed, by and large, to deliver) with ‘load’ and the balance here is kept just right between the clean crunch of Alex Gamble’s cymbals and the swirling distortion of Jon Scranney’s guitar both of which are forced to make way, in any case, for frontman Si Shaw’s personable growl. One of the best front men currently treading the UK boards, SI Shaw is a terrifying ball of energy, a bearded nightmare whose blood-curdling roar frequently combines with a thousand-yard stare that sends the uninitiated running for cover and he does a fantastic job of bringing these songs to life. Next up is the deliciously dark groove of ‘bats’ with Jon delivering a nimble stoner riff and Simon Ball’s ominous bass throbbing away in the rear. Recalling Reverend Bizarre shorn of the excessive misanthropy, ‘bats’ is simply a great tune and there’s no question the vitality that surges at the heart of the band. Heading into heavier territory, ‘Crystal’ hangs from a truly monumental riff whilst Si’s echoing vocal sends the whole thing into orbit. A stuttering monster of a track, ‘crystal’ offers up a killer chorus with a dark, grungy melody that recalls fellow Leicester band Resin only for the title track to go one better with its evil psychedelic lurch taking the listener to darker pastures still. It’s back into high octane stoner heaven for ‘feed the greed’, a custom built road anthem that eats up the tarmac as Jon’s taut riffing leads the way and it’s hard to believe that half the album has flown by without so much as a moment’s pause.  

SonicAbuse has heard few more aptly named songs than ‘riff machine’, a blazing testament to heavy music in general that deserves to become a hard rock anthem in the years to come. With plenty of attitude and just a touch of swagger, ‘riff machine’ is an album highlight. Next up, ‘fire in the hole’ tears a hole in the roof with its stuttering riff and sinister chorus proving to be pure hard rock heaven. Hell, it’s another highlight on an album that seems to be largely made up of highlights, and this is the sort of track I can easily imagine music fans across the nation dragging their friends over to listen to. Possibly referencing the band’s rider, ‘pure alcohol’ is a minor-key crawl that trades out-and-out aggression for subtler forms of aural devastation whilst ‘888’ is an unstoppable juggernaut that threatens to flatten everything in its path. Respite is something that remains absent as the band launch into the stoner might of ‘pigbitch’ and then, all too soon, the album closes with ‘MoM’ and it is one hell of a closer! Another example of Temple of Lies remarkable ability to imbue their work with just enough pop nous to keep things memorable without ever compromising the brutal rock power that fuels their muse, ‘MoM’ is the perfect ending, leaving the listener desperately wanting more.

From sand’ is a monumental album from a band who seemingly don’t know how to compromise. Temple of lies are a band built on heart and soul and that is the quality that shines through on this release. There are moments when the production slips, occasionally appearing a touch treble heavy, and future releases would certainly benefit from a higher budget, but this is a minor criticism and should not, for one second, suggest that this isn’t an absolutely killer release. ‘From sand’, basically, demonstrates what a band can do fuelled solely by self-belief and an absolute passion for heavy music and, if there’s any justice, Temple of lies will be a name that will be familiar up and down the country very soon. In the meantime, this is the absolute belter of an album that the band have always promised with their considerable live performances.

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