Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Gravetemple Trio
The Holy Down

Released 2007 on Southern Lord
Reviewed by MrNick, 29/06/2007ce

Ahh, yes, another album from our favorite doom metal guitarist Stephen O'Malley and friends. This time around Stephen and his buddies Atilla Csihar (Mayhem,Tormentor etc.) and experimental guitarist Oren Armbarchi have gathered up their equipment and hightailed it to Tel Aviv to give us a 60 minute slab of improvised experiments in dark atmospherics. One thing I'd like to mention about Stephen O'Malley's bands is that each band he's in is a logical regression (not progression) from the previous one. For example, Khanate is a slow, atmospheric band that moves at a crawl but is more traditional in a rock sense as it has lyrics, choruses, and beats executed at near-glacial pace. Teeth of the Lions Rule the Divine took the rock band set up and slowed it down even more, turning it into drone with rock elements. With SunnO))), the drums and vocals were phased out and the set up was merely two guitars (though SunnO))) does have some guest collaborators on vocals, percussion, and electronics occasionally) droning endlessly, with very little resemblence to rock music. Grave Temple Trio is somewhat of a logical next step in Stephen O'Malley's career and a return to form. The first half of the album is ultra-simple guitar scrapes and feedback with no rythm or pattern. Eventually drones and chants kick in. This first half is the logical regression I was talking about, it's the simple guitar playing of SunnO))) made even simpler. Eventually the song starts to turn into a SunnO))) drone fest and then suddenly some drums kick in and you're thrown into a maelstrom of drums,feedback, electronics, and tortured screams coming from Atilla. This part of the track is the return to form. It sounds like Sunn's Black One lineup jamming with Khanate. Basically, this is the highlight of the album. The sounds paint a frightening picture of death and war, which is apt considering the location of the performance. This album is probably one of the more diverse albums these three have done in their careers, as it includes elements from every stage of their individual careers without becoming disjointed or uninspiring. Definitely for fans of doom-metal, black metal, and ambient music

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