Temple Nightside’s distant, drenched-in-decay and wholly otherworldly strain of convoluted-yet-precise Black / Death Metal necromancy has never sounded more invigorating and death-affirming than on their fourth full-length, ‘Pillars Of Damnation’ – the disturbing and nightmare-inducing follow-up to ‘The Hecatomb’, which itself elevated ritualistic occult oppression to depths of depravity and decadence rarely before explored even by underground artisans. Four years on, the harrowing, majestic rumbling emanations of Temple Nightside are even more pronounced as the antipodeans’ trademark unearthly blend of guttural growls, knotted riffing and unforgiving, hellborn drums usher forth utter dismay and leave the listener positively bereft of all hope.

Temple Nightside’s uncanny ability to conjure the darkest of sounds and engender strong, negative emotions has never been in doubt. But, with the inevitable passing of time, as they have honed their craft, this capacity to disturb, destabilise and radiate dread has become increasingly apparent with each release. An ideal companion piece to Vassafor’s stunning new album, ‘To The Death’, ‘Pillars Of Damnation’ is thus the work of mastercraftsmen, necromantic alchemists conceiving, executing and presenting for all perpetuity dark art aimed at the darkest of souls.

Chaos is not the only ingredient. On the fourth track, ‘The Carrion Veil’, with all sense of aggression stripped away completely, the pace decelerated to a deathly crawl, the conjurers summon forth a forlorn, terrifying and lurid soundscape that is genuinely unnerving, whispering incantations from the abyss in communion with the dead and departed, an innate understanding and control of atmosphere evident for all to hear / witness.

Although blessed with a cavernous sound, ‘Pillars Of Damnation’ is extremely dextrous and impressive from a technical perspective, with fantastic musicianship evident throughout, though buried subtly within / beneath the ruins. Caked in dust and ancient decay, this album is the antidote to freshness and life, a foul and fetid breath of dank air seeping through the speakers and invading your consciousness, billowing into existence from deep chambers and tombs, the epitome of Black / Death magick, channelling death and dread undiluted – a mind-opening journey towards the inescapable void that will bring a twisted smile to the face of those of you who enjoy your death served dark and cold and encrusted in pitch-black tar.

Evilometer: 666/666