Temple is an imaginist’s playground, an album which allows the listener’s instinctive mental adventure to cast its own potent narratives within unique expansive journeys. Sculpted and presented by French progressive metallers Aeris, the seven tracks/movements within three chapters is a magnetic and enthralling landscape, each piece of music a guide and suggestive lure through absorbing and melodically hued textures and sonic scenery.
The quartet from Nantes create a presence which has essences which remind of bands such as Pelican, Sunn 0))), and Red Wave whispering strongly at times in their sound but only as flavours to something distinct and vocal to Aeris. Consisting of guitarists Manuel Adnot (Sidony Box , Detruire Tous Les Humains, Thinking Noise, Swim, 1Band4A Crew) and Louis Godart, bassist Emerson Paris, and drummer Boris Louvet, the band creates and explores more in the less than a half hour in length release than a great many bands achieve in epically lengthy propositions. It is the precise and imaginative touch of each note which provides an incisive frame and canvas for the aural tale of sound and the listener’s own invention to unfold and colour the encounters. Nothing is forced or laboured and at no point is a second or moment left without rich evocative colour and persuasion working their temptation, the result a masterfully crafted experience and a riveting fire of melodic expression.
Released via Ex-Tension Records, Temple opens with the first part of the opening venture Flame. Entitled Fire Theme, the track is an immediate forceful burn on the senses, a rhythmic inducement crisp and almost antagonistic within the sabre swipes of sonic passion and twisting melodic spires. It is almost Meshuggah like in its entrance soon expanding into a web of intense and acidic melodic guitar stalked by the excellent bass which develops a more carnivorous breath deeper into the piece, its menace a disturbing shadow and danger to the cauldron of heat and energy. The midway flight into calmer if no less intimidating skies offers some sense of safety, once more the guitars painting an enchanting yet caustic atmosphere which leaves thoughts entangled in a scorched world of hopeful yet seemingly destructive fantasy. Moving into its second movement Hidden Sun, the track immerses in a haze of sonic lava, melodic fumes shimmering off of the guitars with an acidic rub to their touch. More dangerous than its predecessor the travel through its corrosive terrain is daunting and toxic, the doom clad ambience and guitar descript within a sludgy rhythmic cage of lumbering intensity verging on suffocation, that is until Rising Light evolves from the perilous stance with feisty sinews and a raging melodic blaze which guides the listener to slightly safer if no less hungry climes.
The second section of the album Richard-Horizon-Robot starts with Richard and immediately the adventure is distinctly different and separate from the previous episode. Vibrantly lighter but equally as creative and exploratory, the track finds the guitars reaping jazz seeds for their slightly schizophrenic intent, riffs and bass casting a dark shadow around the incendiary and frenetic sonic maze of sound and ingenuity. All together they forge a union which plays visions like an eccentric dance through an intriguing neurotic tempest. The emerging Horizon tenderly kisses the ear, keys a seduction which calms the senses and lay imagination within a warm celestial embrace. Like a blossoming flower, the song slowly stretches its lures and elegance across its emotive beauty, gently holding the hand of thoughts as it moves into Robot. Initially like an epilogue to both previous parts, the piece is soon creating its own unique waltz, melodies and the increasing sinewy textures of the guitars carving out a starker imposing template for the band to stretch and investigate.
Final track and chapter is Captain Blood, another piece of creative excellence which stands with a character unique to what came before and able to forge a new in this case noir drenched adventure for the listener to immerse within. There is a sixties progressive bait to its opening stormy gambit, moving into another caress of calm and crystalline enchantment before exploding into a tempestuous but mesmeric fire of soaring invention and melodic chaos all honed into sonic majesty.
Temple is an outstanding album with only one issue preventing it being a classic and that is the production on the drums which to us sound flat and unflattering to the obvious talents of Louvet. Despite that with the at times extraordinary skill and invention of the guitarists and the dark transfixing presence of the bass, the album is a delicious exploit. Aeris create realms and premises it is a pleasure to explore and lose oneself within.
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