Perdition Temple – Sacraments of Descension (2020)REVIEW

Liberated from this mortal coil by nuclear genocide and reigning once again from their molten throne, a great fiery tomb spews freshly drafted rites distinctly from the bloody hand of Florida by way of Missouri death metal hammerers Perdition Temple, clenched upon the bridle and snapping with fiery urgency for their third cloven storm. Although countless bands can be lumped into the psychotic combination of Morbid Angel influenced riff-upon-riff attacks applied to the supremacy of brutal black/death metal unification few bands top any underground list of influential murderers more heartily than Angelcorpse. When the two founding halves of that project severed into numerous new projects it became plain to see their two ‘yangs without yin’ distinguish their contributions to that original union. To be fair Gene Pablucki (ex-Apocalypse Command, Blasphemic Cruelty) has the benefit of carrying much of the past in his distinct style of riffing and this makes his station as main songwriter, guitarist and now returning vocalist in Perdition Temple a powerful reminder of what once was and will always be effective about United States death metal. Set beside their slaughterous debut (‘Edict of the Antichrist Elect‘, 2010) ten years later one could easily argue that ‘Sacraments of Descension’ is either impressively full circle or stubbornly iterative yet the desired effect is the same, Perdition Temple still kill as much or more than ever.

It takes a maniac to string together this manner of brutally paced riff gymnastic and render a powerful, cutting death metal song. Pablucki has the honor of inspiring some of the United States best, among a few outsiders, in crafting Perdition Temple‘s four major releases thus far. He’d started out doing much of it himself on ‘Edict of the Antichrist Elect’ with talented Greek drummer Terry Eleftheriou (Wargrinder) to start. That first album is something I’ll harp on a bit here because it is not only a distillation of Angelcorpse‘s core power but also a clear blueprint for everything done since, it is Pablucki‘s hand that guides all sorcery and the unifying process of arrangement resultant show alignment with his signature steadfast attack. Perhaps the most infamous portion of Perdition Temple‘s output came with the ‘Sovereign of the Desolate‘ (2014) EP line-up, which featured Impurath (Black Witchery, Diocletian) on session vocals alongside current Amon and Brutality drummer Ron Parmer, who is still providing drums for the band today. This EP along with the second Perdition Temple LP (‘The Tempter’s Victorious‘, 2015) featured the last blast of Bill Taylor (Angelcorpse, Immolation) on second guitar before making an exit from performance in general. This era was perhaps a bit louder and malevolent than the first album by virtue of the twin guitar attack cranked in the mix, making ‘The Tempter’s Victorious’ a yet underrated gem still worshiped by folks who’d live and die by anything related to the ‘corpse.

Alex Blume of Ares Kingdom is a notable addition bass here for the third record and he likewise provides the vocals on live performances but it’d seem that no additional influence pulls Perdition Temple away from their steadfast sound, hard as nails and blasting blackened death metal that dives into ‘Domination’-era Morbid Angel (see: “Desolation Usurper”) and amplifies every aspect excepting the esoteric fuckery inherent and generally reeking of apex predators Nox, Centurian, Spearhead, Vader and the earlier stuff from Diabolic. Face-twisting solos, frenzied brutal death paced Floridian death rhythms, and a dementia of anti-Christian defiance all deliver a restlessly entertaining death metal warp that centers its unholiness around the most classic and distinctly American fathoms of the death metal riff. I’ve always reduced this sound to classics like ‘Legion’ and ‘Blessed are the Sick’ for certain traits and well, the debut from Angelcorpse for the desired pace. Think of it as a late second (or third) wave of United States death metal if you must — Death metal influenced by death metal but still thrashing it out as hard as possible without losing the inherent musical value of the genre. This worldview overlooks a lot of vital European death metal in the mid-to-late 90’s, but the result is nonetheless bigger in every sense, more brutal, more riffs, and delivered with precision at an incredible pace. The apex of this style for my own taste is probably Nox‘ ‘Ixaxaar’ and ‘Sacraments of Descension’ matches that intensity, most of its intricacy, and hits an equal or higher benchmark in terms of production/render fidelity thanks to a mix of three recording studios and a mix/master from Jarrett Pritchard, who’d given similarly effective texture to recent records from Lecherous Nocturne, 1349, and Goatwhore.

You’ll notice I’ve vaguely mentioned “riffs” several times and pointed towards intensity amidst classic death metal forms and to be frank, there isn’t any haughty nonsense that I’d want to come up with to try and amplify what Perdition Temple do beyond its very fuckin’ self-evident appeal. Infernal, brutal, crammed with non-stop pure death metal riffing and a blackened snarling attack everything about ‘Sacraments of Descension’ is pure and simple ethos applied to complex and thrilling death metal music. All forms are recognizable and all serves to reinforce the increasingly singular identity of Perdition Temple, though this record could be considered their most ‘technical’ output to some degree if only because of the detail applied to songs like “Carnal Harvest” and certain parts of “Eternal Mountain”. ‘Sacrament of Descension’ gets into the pocket, kills for ~40 unwavering minutes and gets out without breaking a sweat. Pure class and high impact stuff that I can enthusiastically recommend to fans of gimmick free riff-intensive death metal music. High recommendation.

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Artist Perdition Temple
Type Full-length
Released March 27, 2020
BUY & LISTEN on Hell’s Headbangers Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Perdition Temple on Facebook
Genre Death Metal,
Blackened Death Metal

High recommendation. 4.0/5.0

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