“Pillars of Damnation”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The Land Down Under (Australia, not Hell) can usually be relied on to provide quality death metal. TEMPLE NIGHTSIDE contributes to that axiom with “Pillars of Damnation”, a dark and dingy trudge through the sewers of putrid death.

They lack the sort of playful goofiness of bands such as PORTAL and CAULDRON BLACK RAM and focus strictly on classic early 90’s gloom. Gloom is indeed a fitting term, because the whole album is practically suffocating in pure analog darkness, which reaches its apex on the final track “Damnation”. This is super morbid death doom in the tradition of the greats like ASPHYX, INCANTATION and the like. Not an original sound, but a very potent one, when done correctly, like here. “The Carrion Veil” is another ghastly dragger full of fetid decay.

The band also can crank at high speed. “Death Eucharist” and “Contagion of Heresy” are examples of IMMOLATION/MORBID ANGEL type death metal. I like “Morose Triumphalis” for its dynamic range and shifting riffs, but it has to be said there are points where the band comes across as too formulaic, like the uninspiring “Blood Cathedral”.

All in all, it’s a strong album if you like your death metal morbid and murky, but it could use some quirkiness to make it stand out more.