Review: Temple NightsideThe Hecatomb

Beyond death, the dark awaits. Temple Nightside will take you there.

Picture the sepulchral feel of Derkéta‘s In Death We Meet combined with the dim crematory overtones of bands such as Vassafor and (old) Cadaveric Fumes, for it is there, in the midst of this vexing cloud of gloom, that Temple Nightside dwell. Since their inception in 2010, Australia’s Temple Nightside have gradually increased from a two-man operation to a trio after their 2013 debut full-length Condemnation. 2016’s The Hecatomb sees the outfit grow again, now bolstered into a quartet, and the outcome of this addition has brought a sense of refinement and that of a more concerted effort in general. Throughout its 40 minute run-time, the album creeps in the shadows, beckoning you deeper and deeper beyond the realm of light. The Hecatomb rarely breaks out beyond the mid-tempo range during its 9 tracks, preferring to lurk amidst the murk of slower dirges and the fog of reverb-soaked occultism.

After first hearing Iron Bonehead’s track premiere a few weeks back, I wrote a message detailing my first impressions of the vocals to a couple of fellow bowl-dwellers. As I am lazy would like you to get the complete unabridged account, I will just recite them here – “The vocals sound like some demonic priest yelled into a coffin 400 years ago and the reverberations have been echoing around in there ever since.” Once you open the lid they spill out of the casket like dry ice, and vaporously sublimate into the surrounding atmosphere. Eloquent? No. Accurate? Go find a sealed 400 year old coffin and find out. The fourth track, “Fortress of Burden and Distress”, has some ritualistic sermon-like choral backing, befitting of a black requiem. Antithetical to a Gregorian chant, it serves to usher in the ambient interlude track “The Murderous Victor (Commune 3.2)”, with its foreboding whispered threats of devastation, portending to the triumph of evil. Both the hushed taunts and psalm-like admonitions combine on the 7-minute album centrepiece “Within the Arms of Nothingness”.


The guitar-work consists predominantly of steadily picked single note malevolence that swirls from the black, filling the cold air like a swarm of ravenous bats heading out to patrol the night sky. Interspersed are the thick chugs that are no doubt the sound of the colossal stone doors of the ancient mortuary being slid shut in stages behind you, trapping you in the tomb’s obsidian gleam. Throughout the album, Temple Nightside’s guitarists proffer scant lead spots, preferring to let the prevailing nightmarish atmosphere established by their prudent yet powerful riffing carry the songs through. However, when they do decide to embellish, a chaotic atonal style is employed, confounding the observer like some funerary stele bearing an archaic inscription of glyphs from an antediluvian lexicon.

I’m not quite sure if bassist IV has utilised the technique of recording two bass tracks (one clean and one distorted) as he does on his solo project Ill Omen, but the bass does have a strong presence regardless. While we’re on the topic of IV’s performance, his vocals here are a little more comprehensible than in Ill Omen, but no less menacing. The album owes a great deal of the aforementioned menace to its tempo. Although The Hecatomb‘s overall pacing is quite unhurried in comparison to an album such as Cruciamentum‘s Charnel Passages, the note choices during its hastier tremolo riffs are quite similar. However, contrary to what you may think that implies, the album’s slower momentum hardly fosters a languorous climate. The resultant effect is strongly alluring and almost hypnotic. The mysterious atmosphere they exude could easily help you discover if you’re prone to aurally-induced catalepsy.

The percussion on The Hecatomb has a slightly dulled tone, which perfectly matches the production aesthetic of the rest of the recording. As I don’t proclaim to be expert on production, I don’t know whether it’s closer to your typical hall, church or cathedral reverbs, so I’m going to dub it “Crypt reverb” [© Lizard Pty. Ltd (2016)]. Even when things slow down, the cymbals seem to attempt to keep the pace up, tinging away while the bass and snare drums lurch along like a crypt keeper suffering a particularly severe case of dead leg. As a whole, the drums seem quite unassuming on the surface, but upon closer inspection they actually offer a decent variety of beats and techniques. Such is the case for the release in general. Once you brush off the top layers of accumulated dust, there are some interesting adornments to be discovered.

Ambience is deftly incorporated into the mix. Like the late night’s brume settling into the valleys between undulating hills, the chilling atmosphere blankets the troughs between sonic peaks. Their cumulative effect helping the songs slowly spread across your mind, as lichen gradually inches across tombstones, if left to their own devices, these tracks will eventually cloak your psyche. The killer cover art was created using acrylic on wood by Nekronikon, who has recently worked with Qrixkuor, Void Meditation Cult, Cruciamentum, and Slaughterday. If you’re into the haunting atmosphere brought forth by bands such as Impetuous Ritual, Irkallian Oracle and Grave Upheaval but crave something with a much more stolid and funereal presentation, then look no further than Temple Nightside’s The Hecatomb.

4/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


The Hecatomb releases on August 5th through the perennial Iron Bonehead Productions.

(Image via)

  • Dubbbz

    I am excited to jam this since Ill Omen touches me in all the right ways.

    • Lacertilian

      Dude certainly keeps busy!

    • Elegant Gazing Globe

      Definitely sexual

  • Joaquin Stick

    Damn fine work Lizard Dad. I’m super curious about bands like this, and how they could possibly perform live. Like, do they just sound completely different / a lot louder? Or do they somehow magically sound like this?

    • Elegant Gazing Globe

      I’m a big fan of Eventide’s modulation and reverb products. This one in particular you can use for most applications –

      • This look like a cool little ped- FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS???

        • Elegant Gazing Globe

          My experience with pedals is that you get what you pay for in terms of flexibility and versatility.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            life lesson: you always get what you pay for.

          • case in point: Apple products. you pay high dollar for the brand name and the coolness that one gets from applying the Apple logo sticker on the back of one’s Prius.

          • You take that back, my Prius is badass with its Walmart flame decals and FFDP brass knuckle sticker on the back windshield.

          • oh shit, sorry Ann. you’ve got the vanity plate “GCHAPUL” right? (this joke requires you to live in a different state)

          • Abradolf Lincler

            you get 8 in NC

          • *moves to NC*

          • Abradolf Lincler

            totes worth it for the extra letter, you could get an exclamation point:


          • CyberneticOrganism


          • (we get 7 in KS)

          • fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
            (P.S. don’t doxx yourself bruh)


          • CyberneticOrganism

            That license plate = 100 pulls

    • Lacertilian

      If they do a local Aussie tour I’ll try and go and let you know.

      • Joaquin Stick

        I’m sure there are other bands who’s aesthetic relies heavily on an element of production that might have similar issues live. I would like to hear more about this in general.

        • Abradolf Lincler

          im sure quite a bit of it could be back tracked/soundboarded live. the rest is just fx pedals.

    • Spear

      I imagine a lot of this type of sound could be achieved with some strategic mic placement on the drums and a good sound guy.

  • The heckin’ tomb. I dig the riffage but I can’t quite get behind those cavernous vox.

    • Lacertilian

      Fair enough, I can’t really imagine it without them now. I do enjoy being able to decipher them though, as opposed to a lot of the vox in this style.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    Off topic but RIP classic rock. I’m retiring my Janitor Jim Duggan gimmick because of these motherfuckers. There’s a special place in hell for these guys.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    wow I really really like this. Especially the slower parts. This might be another of the few new releases I buy on wax(if they sell it). love this cavecore style


  • Abradolf Lincler

    i remember somebody posting this in the comment section before and it’s pretty good, kind of follows a lot of what’s coming out this year and last year

    PS: paydirt[rfi]

    • more beer

      So you were in JJD’s area?

      • Abradolf Lincler

        look at how happy andy capp is. thats how happy i am ab it.

        • more beer

          He is always drunk. Of course he looks happy.

  • terrific review, friendo! i’m in love with this style. let me rephrase that: CAVECORE ROCKS!!!

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I think I found out which caveman Jimmy is.



        • don’t forget about GENNY!!! oh wait, he did say “caveman”

          • GORAK IN CAVES™


    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      you cheeky bastard…

  • FUCK YES!!!

  • Waynecro

    This is pretty great. Thanks for the heads-up and awesome review!

  • CT-12

    Not sure how to feel about these guys. Dig it to a point, but it almost feels a little too lethargic at moments for me, wish that drummer would bring a little more energy at times. I dunno, maybe I just gotta give it a few more spins.

  • Spear

    YUP, this is sick. Those chants lend themselves really well to this kind of music.

  • This is pretty fucking sweet, but I’m not sure if it will be distinguishable on the car speakers lol

  • Eliza

    This is a case where the music is enhanced by my broken laptop speakers.

    • perhaps broken laptop speakers are what INSPIRED Temple Nightside, lololol

  • What a great review. Looking forward to this, Papa Lizard!

  • CyberneticOrganism

    I want to run around that album cover with a rocket launcher and godmode

  • Phil Zepain

    I bet that coffin was at least 500 years old. And I can’t wait to open it and take a deep breath of mephitic air while enjoying this in my basement.