Artist: Temple of Athena
Album: The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun – EP
You don’t have to have a degree in Greek Mythology or be a historian to know that Athena is the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and War—two seemingly separate and contrary facets of mankind that, now more than ever, are abundant in our daily lives. Often seen in a dichotomy fitting of her representations, she is either relaxed and inviting, extending a soft hand to the observer—or she is clad in iron, armed to the teeth and prepared to rain pain and death down upon her foes. She is cunning, creative and cruel all in one—which makes her namesake the near-perfect choice for Australian deathcore tyrants Temple of Athena. With their breakout EP, The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun (don’t even get started on the sun and ancient lore—you’ll be sitting here all day), Temple of Athena use top-notch production and immaculate songwriting to draw the listener in, such that their soul-smothering slams and brutalizing breakdowns may engulf the listener in total violence. A crafty hybrid of downtempo deathcore devastation and blistering, brutal speed, The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun is a malevolent and murderous listen that lets fly slings and arrows in a fashion fitting Athena herself.
Not consistently low’n’slow enough to be pigeonholed as “another downtempo band,” yet certainly dreary and dismal enough to thoroughly obliterate the listener, Temple of Athena are a relatively unique act that take everything Australia is known for when it comes to heavy music and mash it all together. The result? The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun, twenty minutes of sheer terror the likes of which could bring any God to their knees. With percussion written primarily by Jessie Borden, the entirety of The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun is a rip-roaring adventure that oscillates from blistering speed driven by lacerating blast beats to sludgy, sinister and slow patterns that hammer nine inch nails into every square inch of the listener’s body. “Rebirth,” as well as the whirlwind opening number, “Abhorrence,” showcases this brilliantly—as Borden’s painstakingly written percussion hammers away without missing a beat. Meanwhile, riffsmiths Jake Schultz, Qadir Sabile and previous member Jesse Drake—accompanied by Borden–absolutely annihilate the fretwork on both bass and guitar throughout the entirety of Temple of Athena’s ruthless display of devastation. “Facilis Descensus Averno” highlights the trio’s penchant for punishing and pissed downtempo aggression, while the two-part “The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun” is a diverse display of their many talents—with the trio riffing, grooving and chugging away until there is precious little left of the listener. Schultz, Sabile and Drake work with Borden and his carefully written percussion to create deathcore that takes a love of old-school aggression and infuse it with low groove and slow, surreptitious downtempo.
Where Temple of Athena excel at all things visceral and violent, operating in extremes where their instrumentation is concerned, their vocals follow suit—if not more so. Dan Basri is a name you should make a point to carve into your memory—as his name will be internationally known in a matter of months. Temple of Athena’s frontman is talented beyond description, truth be told; this is readily apparent well before the opening track, “Abhorrence” is through. Letting loose with a sprawling array of guttural bellows and grisly low growls that segue sharply into piercing shrieks and sky scraping squeals, Basri’s talent puts him in the same position as Ben Duerr was less than two years ago—just on the brink of exploding into infamy among the heavy music underground. Even on the EP’s closing track, “The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun Pt. II,” where he goes toe-to-toe with A Night in Texas’ Ethan Lucas, Basri’s voice is still immaculate in the most intense and intimidating way one can fathom. Basri’s variety and dynamism allows him to compliment the fastest portions of The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun just as easily as he adds depth and ferocity to the low, lurid breakdowns and moments of hair-raising atmosphere. Basri is poised atop the insidious and immense instrumentation his bandmates provide, set to become the underground’s next big name.
Temple of Athena stand tall and unshakable—a young band but one with prodigal amounts of promise, talent and punishing heaviness. With megaton breakdowns, sharp leads and ruthless riffs that link together moments of bleak, bitter despair, The Prophecy of a Sacred Sun has a little bit of everything for fans of heavy music ranging from Black Tongue’s terrifying doom influences to AngelMaker’s speed and technicality. A full-bodied listen, Temple of Athena’s EP is likely the fastest 20 minutes the listener will experience all year, as every second is incredible and engaging. No matter what you believe or whatever your heritage, this immense sextet will have you prostrated before the Temple of Athena before the first song has even reached its end.
For Fans Of: Depths, Black Tongue, Enterprise Earth, Spite, A Night in Texas
By: Connor Welsh