Temple Of Dread - Hades Unleashed

Germany’s Temple Of Dread might seem like they are on a fast track from album releases as it seems like they’re putting out an album every year since they started with their debut in 2019. Usually groups who do this crank out music that is far too similar to the previous releases and feel like they are losing steam or variety, but these guys seem to keep their consistency, much in the way Deicide did when they had their fast track album run in the early 2000s.

Temple Of Dread continue with their old school sound that sounds a little like Death meets At The Gates for its raw, yet melodic tones. Album wise “Hades Unleashed” changes things up with its Greek based concepts, breathing a little more life into the tracks rather than sticking to the more generic lyric content that is present on some of the earlier albums. One thing that listeners will easily take away from Temple Of Dread is their use of melody. The layered guitars have some pretty dark tones to them especially on a track like ‘Aithon’s Hunger’ that sound pretty impressive and don’t just bludgeon over and over like other death metal bands tend to do such as Cannibal Corpse or Suffocation. There even sounds like a bit of a thrashy approach to the music, though it is very faint. Think more if Bolt Thrower on “Those Once Loyal” decided to merge its sound with At The Gates and “Slaughter Of The Soul.” It just sounds right altogether.

Other tracks like ‘Necromanteion’ and ‘Threefold Agony’ are more the standard chugging death metal fare without too much melody, but they make up for that in groove very heavily while still retaining the dark overtones of the music, especially during the interlude which is very doomy, cold, and the drums have more of a pattern to it than just the same blasts over and over. After this track though it feels like the band loses its steam a little as ‘Empyrean’ and ‘Crypts Of Gorgon’ start to blend together while remaining ferocious, but just don’t quite have the wow factor that the album starts with. These two are fast, and hard hitting, but also sound a little generic with their lack of groove compared to a track like ‘Necromanteion.’ Thankfully, ‘Nefarious, I’ brings back the slower moments mixed with the fast and injects a little more melody back on the music. ‘Whores Of Pompeii’ hits hard but has some very excellent guitar moments that are mid paced, but not quite slow, so the song never lets up and hits hard with some pretty memorable riffing. Finally, the band really changes things up with the slow, plodding ‘Procession To Tartarus.’ An excellent closer with its dark, dragging tones the old school feel in the vein of Helslave is certainly there with its grim sound, and while fans might feel it is a bit ‘too slow’ for them, this pace is just right and really enhances Temple of Dread’s sound.

"Hades Unleashed" is a new cornerstone for Temple Of Dread. The mix of slower, darker parts with the faster ones creates a nice balance and the overall concept of the album is something new that listeners will not have heard before from them. This is definitely their strongest offering to date and while not revolutionary by death metal standards has something anyone who likes the sub genres of melodeath to just straight up old school death metal from the 90s or early 2000s. Hopefully these guys will continue to have new tricks to pull out if they keep up their 1 year gap between albums but so far they definitely seem to have done all right.

3.5 / 5 STARS

1. Aithon’s Hunger
2. Necromanteion
3. Wrath Of The Gods (Furor Divinus)
4. Threefold Agony
5. Empyrean
6. Crypts Of The Gorgon
7. Nefarious, I
8. Whores Of Pompeii
9. Procession To Tartarus