Blight - Temple of Wounds
Svart Records
Black Metal
9 songs (50:23)
Release year: 2020
Official Bandcamp, Svart Records
Reviewed by Goat

Starting life in 2008, three out of four members of Blight joined in 2011 having left their previous blackened deathcore band Insect out of a desire to play pure black metal. Although apparently one of the first bands ever to play a combination of deathcore and black metal according to Metal-Archives, you can't mourn the demise of Insect when it led to three souls returning to the darkness like this! And Blight are much better than Insect, even if there's room for improvement still. Playing a very modern form of black metal, Temple of Wounds retains a little influence from the members' previous unit in the guitar tone, downtuned and buzzy, while vocalist Gabriel has a harsh yell that would suit a deathcore band. First track Dar-Akh-Qayin has a militaristic stomp and single guitar line that makes it unclear whether they've cast off the deathcore mantle altogether, but the following Elsewhere & Elsewhen makes it clear that it was a form of introduction to the album, having a much denser sound which continues into the album.

There's much to like; the mix of vocal styles, from deep clean singing to deranged yells and growls, is an immediately noticeable strength, and although the guitars can stick a little too close to 2000s Moonfog territory (Satyicon's Rebel Extravanganza clearly an influence on the band) their scouring tones form a terrific textual presence. The songwriting is enjoyably chaotic, with elements of Behemoth and Marduk thrown into the mix to make the likes of Kingship (Man-made-Naught) galloping black/death crushers, and the churning intensity of the slower, grooving Before the Monolith (Under the Lens of Fanaa) stays heavy thanks to the deranged vocals, later turning quite grandiose with clean, practically gothic singing. Pretty much every idea appears to have been used, a bit of initial black 'n' roll on A Violent Light then teasing a turn towards modern Enslaved territory as it toys with progginess before returning to heaviness, with the following The Aurous Nescience more akin to Dimmu Borgir with those nicely effective backing keyboards.

Where Temple of Wounds falls apart a little is in the final few songs, which lack standout moments and blur together. This album really didn't need to be fifty minutes long, and could have benefited from some judicious editing if not outright cutting tracks out - the worst offender being finale We Left of Our Own Volition, which feels a little repetitive and directionless (at least Scrying the Iosis has some infectious riffing). Some real promise, then, and a good start, but Blight will almost definitely be better on their second album. Fans of forward-looking yet violent modern black metal will find much to appreciate until then, however, and that is some excellent taste in cover art.

Killing Songs :
Elsewhere & Elsewhen, Before the Monolith (Under the Lens of Fanaa), The Aurous Nescience
Goat quoted 70 / 100
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