By Dr. Abner Mality

France’s Temple of Baal have been one of the hidden gems of the extreme metal world for a long time now. What will it take to elevate them to the headlining position they deserve? If “Mysterium” can’t do it, then nothing can.

On this record, Temple of Baal step up their game and explore their more epic side, with longer and more complex songs. They still retain their expert mixture of black and death metal to the same degree but they’ve dedicated themselves to songs on a bigger…and more melodic…scale. Now I will say that “Mysterium” is maybe not quite as flesh-rippingly visceral as past TOB output, but in no way have they dropped their intensity.  Listen to “Divine Scythe” and “Hosanna” and you can’t deny the power. But these tracks “breathe” more and the songwriting is more intricate. “Lord of Knowledge and Death” and “Magna Gloria Tua” are the HUGEST sounding Temple of Baal tracks yet created, especially the latter song which mixes slow and fast riffs so very well.

I do think that the last song “All In Your Name” is the weakest on show and does not end the album in the epic fashion it should have. The aforementioned “Magna Gloria Tua” would have been a more fitting closer as “All in Your Name” just kind of peters out. But looked at on the larger scale, “Mysterium” sees Temple of Baal stretching their blackened arms to new lengths and grasping a new flock of listeners to their bosom. It’s another example of their darkened excellence.