DARK MEDITATION “Polluted Temples”

By Lord Randall

With a PR sheet name-dropping everyone from VENOM to PRIEST to DANZIG and mentioning the members’ previous “punk ethos” “Polluted Temples” could’ve gone either way.

Shiver-inducing images of early ‘00s CRADLE OF FILTH or any DANZIG after “III: How The Gods Kill” plagued my mind, but here, on this ridiculous bright and sunny Monday morning in February, 2022, I gathered my courage and…

After the mercifully short “Prelude”, “Babalon.Money.Magick” is…oh, yes, now I see where the DANZIG influence comes from, but it’s not even good DANZIG, instead sloughing forward with all the energy of a greasy devilock and half the passion. “Haunt Of Fear” frightens me at what might follow, only because if the one-two punch every album should deliver at the start is such a limp-wristed slap of the cheeks in this case, the next half-hour do not bode well. Lackluster leadwork, more Evil Elvis pissing and moaning (literally in the coda) from vocalist A.D. Vick who apparently is still working through his “I was raised in church and I’m still mad about it” issues. Ever wonder how a therapist must feel listening to a grown adult human spew out their deepest problems, all the while wanting to pierce their own eardrums with a letter opener? Listen to this album. You’ll know.

Neanderthal and not in a good way, “Strange Caress (Of The Night)” leaving even the most passive listener with the pervading sense that DARK MEDITATION isn’t even trying here, so banal and yawn-inducing are the mid-paced riffs, the melodies bound and gagged by the limits of their executors. “Master’s Coil” is faux lightweight twee goth rock, and the whole of “Polluted Temples” is awash in lyrics that make Billy Idol seem like Dante Alighieri, so there’s that to contend with as well.

Yeah, so I made it through this utter waste of time, none the worse for wear but looking very much forward to spinning something actually dark and threatening. In the words of the title track, “We wait hand in hand / Waiting for the wasteland.”. It’s here. It’s this album. Abandon all taste, ye who listen here.