One may rightfully ask oneself if the Swedish death metal duo Temisto are the last guests at a party, considering that a myriad of their countrymen have already dried all blood from the veins of death metal nostalgia over the last couple of years. Coming up with a debut in 2016 certainly may seem like an attempt at beating a dead horse, but to defeat your own prejudices and listen to the album means to be rewarded in this case, for Temisto are truly a breath of fresh air and would have been at the top of the game by now had they released this some five years ago. Still, it’s never too late to witness greatness, and success they undoubtedly deserve will inevitably catch up with them in coming years.
There is literally no situation in which this band feels uncomfortable or unable to deliver, from the relentless, utterly primitive death metal aggression to a dazzling and enchanting simplicity of their acoustic experimentations. Above Sacred Ground, for example, with its vigorous riff progressions at the beginning and tranquil, mesmerizingly psychedelic second half, is a mighty opener that immediately introduces a listener to the eclectic musical journey full of emotional rollercoasters that this album remains during its entire length. Songs like Abyssal Depths, on the other hand, represent different kind of sentiment and display the band’s perfect understanding of how to use melody in order to embody mystique, while Demiurge has a touch of some strange and mellow melancholy to it. Then, there are two wonderful acoustic intermezzos The Ritual and Seance, that are immensely successful reminders of just how good the song Desolate Ways by Morbid Angel is. Make no mistake, Temisto’s take on fundamental principles of death metal idiom is highly refined, their songwriting is brimmed with imagination, and absolutely everything about this band screams competence and integrity, from top to bottom.
Another interesting fact about the album is the involvement of Robert Andersson of Morbus Chron fame, who was in charge of the production and did a damn fine job with it. Together with band members, he managed to capture a vibe that feels very organic and natural, and to achieve a perfect balance between rawness and distinctiveness in terms of how the vocals and instruments interact as a whole.
Looking back on 2015, there was a handful of releases by Pulverised Records that I didn’t quite enjoy, but I feel they really hit the nail on the head with this album by Temisto, as there’s not much going on in the scene at the moment that can rival these young Swedes. Hopefully, this eponymous debut marks only a starting point of a long and successful musical career.
(Pulverised Records, 2016)