Reviews for "Overlord"
Metal Core zine (USA)
Temple of Blood
This is the 2nd release I have got from this band and I have no idea why this band is not on a label yet. This is a godly release (pun intended) of power/thrash metal that would please any fan of metal. The riffs are brilliant, the vocals are soaring and sung with passion and feeling. This is total old school 80's thrash and I loved every note from note # 1 till the last one. This reminded me of the 1st brilliant release of Agent Steel in spots. It had that vibe and production and just overall feel to it. If you like old school thrash, this is easily a must have.
Metal-Rules.com webzine (USA)
Temple of Blood
Finally back three years after wowing the thrash crowd with their debut, Christian metal heads Temple of Blood are back (well OK, in 2008 actually) with their sophomore album. Yes, you read that right – they are Christians, get over it.
The band`s first album PREPARE FOR THE JUDGEMENT OF MANKIND was a well-constructed slab of thrash metal that showed great promise, but didn`t quite have the sticking power to make it a classic. At times it was perhaps overly melodic, lessening the impact of the riffs. Well, whether they took the criticism to heart or just wrote from the heart, OVERLORD is an improvement in almost every way over the debut. Heavier, faster, filled with catchier hooks, this album quickly gets under your skin. This is immediately proved with the first song, “Behind the Inverted Star”. Quite simply, if this song doesn’t get your head banging, you’re dead. From there, on through other highlights like the racing “Fearsome Warrior” and the more stately march of “Anthem to the Unseen”, the album keeps your attention much better than its predecessor. There’s just immediacy to the riffs that wasn’t there before, as well as an obvious cranking of aggression.
Jim Mullis’ vocals are as melodic as ever, sounding like Blitz Ellsworth without the screeches. They are definitely a “take it or leave it” style of vocal but they certainly fit in. In fact, they are mixed a little too far back, mirroring a problem I’ve been hearing lately on other albums – the latest Mar De Grises and Samael discs being prime examples. This leads me nicely into the production of the album which, if I didn’t know better, would swear was done in 1987. Weak vocal mix aside, they’ve captured the thin thrash sound of yesteryear perfectly. Stylistically, the cover of the classic “Forbidden Evil” fits right in.
All in all, a hearty Bravo! is in order here. OVERLORD is an improvement in every way over PREPARE... and has me convinced that even better things are ahead for Temple of Blood. But never mind that – OVERLORD is simply a great album that all thrash fans should check out.
Angelic Warlord webzine (USA)
Temple of Blood
The origin of Huntsville, Alabama based Temple Of Blood dates back to 2001 when it was founded by vocalist/guitarist Jim Mullis and drummer Lance Wright. The two proceeded to recruit bassist Garth Lovvorn and a second guitarist, Matt Barnes, prior to entering the studio and recording the groups self-financed and independently released 2005 debut Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind. After Jim Lewis (Antithesis) later replaced Lovvorn on bass, Temple Of Blood put together the material encompassing the spring of 2008 follow up effort Overlord, its second self-financed and independently released project in a row.
What we have in Temple Of Blood is a joining of old school thrash (think Dark Angel, Testament and Forbidden) and melodic speed metal (similar to early Deliverance) backed by classic and true metal sensibilities (in the same vein as Boarders and Symphonic Extremities era Ultimatum). While Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind proved a capable debut, Overlord takes things to the next level. As a matter of fact, it become obvious with repeated listen to the album that Temple Of Blood, a group with a moniker inspired by I Corinthians 6:19, literally worked itself to death the past several years to improve all areas of its performance, including songwriting, musicianship and instrumental sound, vocals, production and lyrics.
Now, all great albums are based upon a foundation of great songs; and such is what we have here in that Temple Of Blood draws upon just the right amount of bone crushing heaviness and melodic based songwriting. Solid hooks are present throughout Overlord, best exhibited on speed metal romps “Behind The Inverted Cross”, “Fearsome Warrior” and “Pawn Of The Liar” in addition to “Illusion Of Control” and “The Return”, two tracks that walk a fine line between thrash and classic US power metal. A more melodic direction is taken on “Harbinger” and “Summon The Accused” while the doom laden “Black Day Of Execution” and plodding mid-tempo metal of “Anthem To The Unseen” slow things to a near crawl. Rounding out the album is the technical thrash of the Forbidden cover “Forbidden Evil”.
The melodic vocal delivery of Jim Mullis helps give Temple Of Blood its signature sound. Mostly staying in high end territory, Mullis demonstrates his versatility with the occasional falsetto or by reaching down low and adding some grit and gravel to his delivery. Comparison wise, the first name that comes to mind, obviously, is Deliverance frontman Jimmy P. Brown II but Russ Anderson (Forbidden) – for his occasionally high end flavorings – also deserves mention.
Matt Barnes handles rhythm guitar duties (be sure to check out his tight as all get out riffs- some lightning fast and others driven and weighty) and joins with Mullis for the albums lead guitar work. The two form quite the capable team, often decorating the material throughout the project with their mercurial – and at times over the top – dual lead work (such as on “Behind The Inverted Star”, “Summon The Accused” and “Forbidden Evil”). The rhythm section of power drummer Lance Wright and Jim Lewis puts in place a solid foundation for the bands sound to rest upon.
Production values prove very laudable, exhibiting just the right amount of polish but not so much as to take away from the bands natural energy. Rhythm guitar there is in abundance, along with cleanly mixed lead work and quite the pronounced low end.
Instrumental album opener “Descent Into Treachery” moves its brief (:42) distance with the instrumentation at a reduced place in the mix. Hence, when “Behind The Inverted Star” abruptly kicks in it proves quite the contrast.
“Behind The Inverted Star” represents as no-nonsense of a track as you will find. A three minute explosion of non-stop energy, the song advances its full length to a melding of chainsaw rhythm guitar and rapid fire drums- all the while give rise to quite the copious melody (this one is heavy AND catchy). Barnes and Mullis top things off with a blistering dual lead guitar trade off. As its title implies, “Behind The Inverted Star” focuses on the evils behind the pentagram:
Adorn your work with the unholy
So naïve of which it stands
Comfort in conformity
Tribute to the fall of man
Ancient evil this mark will tell
The five-pointed signs points to Hell
A hate that burns like fire lies behind the inverted star
“Summon The Accused” is a dramatic piece portraying the trial of Christ before Pilate (I like to think of it as a heavier version of Bloodgood’s “Crucify). Musically, the song heads in a bit more of a melodic direction in comparison to “Behind The Inverted Star”, not quite setting the all out breakneck pace but still showcasing a hook of the abundant variety. Barnes and Mullis provide another lead guitar trade off to a track that, again, deals with the trial of Christ:
Summon the accused, before the tribunal
The boastful one who claims He is the son
Judgement’s at hand by the laws of this land
Pharisees, priests and the mob they command
Brought to the high priest – Annas
Mocked in the courtroom of Caiphas
Take Him to the Roman magistrate
Execute, let Pilate seal His fate
Another assault of all out speed metal, the furious “Fearsome Warrior” hearkens back to prime Deliverance with its chunky rhythm guitar sound and all out hard hitting impetus. As a matter of fact, the guitar riff at the start of the song has “Victory” – from the big D’s self titled debut – written all over it (and the guys pull it off without a hitch). Another shorter piece at just over three minutes, “Fearsome Warrior” takes a look at the biblical figure Samson:
Fearsome warrior, strength divine
A killing machine, born to fight
Those who stand against surely die
A whole army fell by his might
Sworn foe of the Phillistines
Not like any man who’s ever been
Fought and overcame wild beasts
His strength was legendary
Lashed out, all around
Spilled their blood, struck them down
By the bone of a jaw
He attacked, made them fall
“Illusion Of Control” might back off a bit in terms of the energy level (at least when compared to “Fearsome Warrior”) but proves no less able. Getting things underway is a lengthy instrumental introduction that takes a quietly played guitar and interweaves it with a driving rhythm guitar and touches of fluid soloing. The laid back setting soon quickly picks up pace, harsh backing vocals sustaining the song during its terse verse portions before things taper for a chorus that starts evenly only to regain the initiative at the end. “Illusion Of Control” centers around the issues of worry and faith (and how God ultimately has things in control and how we can ultimately trust Him):
MORTALITY – Fleeting time upon this mortal plane
FUTILITY – Busy futile lives we live in vain
Frustration and failure from our hands
Can’t succeed apart from His command
A troubled race we run but the war has already been won
Illusion of control
“Black Day Of Execution” takes the album in a doom based heading. Upheld its extent by a plodding – almost bass heavy – riff and staunch low end, the song mixes a swarthy musical direction (kind of like Black Sabbath or Place Of Skulls) with lyrics written from the standpoint of Christ at the time of the crucifixion:
The charge has been made, I am sentenced to die
Beaten, blooded and scourged through the night
A long slow march to the skull on the hill
Don’t let me die but please do Your will
The soloing Mullis cuts loose each time “Black Day Of Execution” repeats its emotionally charged chorus almost comes across bluesy in feel. Great song.
“Pawn Of The Liar”, with its all out speed metal and thrash mentality, stands out as one of the more aggressive pieces here (right up there with “Behind The Inverted Star” and “Fearsome Warrior”). Showcasing a mega-crunch rhythm guitar sound and relentless sledgehammer drums, the song comes across about as subtle as left hook to the jaw. Chorus wise, this one finds Mullis stretching and cutting loose with a Jimmy Brown-like falsetto. “Pawn Of The Liar” warns against becoming a tool of the evil one:
Living as a prisoner of your own flesh
Enshackled by your desire
A foolish child living vain dreams
You’re just a pawn of the liar
Great suffering you must endure
How much more can you take
Before the pain makes you cry out
And you finally turn away
“Harbinger” begins to a short drum solo before charging ahead to a wrecking ball rhythm guitar. The song sustains the tempestuous direction during its verse portions, not letting up until decelerating – almost to a crawl – for a catchy chorus focusing on the person of Christ:
The prophecy was true
Your profound message changed the world
All our hopes lie with You
Mullis and Barnes step forward with another complementary stretch of dual lead guitar.
The Forbidden cover, “Forbidden Evil”, is done to perfection. The albums longest piece at 5:43, the song proves a technical slab of thrash metal with its intricate time changes and lengthy instrumental portions: well over half of “Forbidden Evil” is instrumental, including its minute long introduction and two instrumental sections- the first rhythm guitar driven and second featuring a dual lead trade off that goes Barnes, Mullis, Barnes, Mullis, Barnes and, finally, Mullis. How is that for intense? And intense would be the way to describe how the song amalgamates a relentless wave of rhythm guitar with a muscle laden low end. “Forbidden Evil” hits the nail on the head lyrically (it would be interesting to find out what the guys in Forbidden were thinking when they wrote this):
Behold forbidden evil, he’s come to fight you’ll see
Beyond good God the Savior will rule eternity
Prince of Hell, he surrounds the Earth
Fulfilling what is said
The demons scream from Hell and kiss the bloody birth
“Anthem To The Unseen”, as its title implies, opens to an anthem-like guitar riff – every bit as tight as it gets – shored up by militant drums. The song proceeds to advance through its first verse at an ominous mid-tempo pace, overwhelming its listener as it acquires a brief but infectiously driven chorus aligning itself perfectly with the mood filled environs. “Anthem To The Unseen” is a song of faith:
Ancient One hear my cry of reverent praise
To your Anointed and all His ways
From your creation let us call the name of God
Exalted above all
Sovereign One take my life to do as You will
Cut off every branch that doesn’t yield
“The Return” commences to a thrash flavored riff and a trademark scream from Mullis. Chopping through its verse portions in a heavy duty manner, the song culminates for a hook driven chorus in which the rhythm guitar, satisfyingly, moves to the forefront of the mix. I like how “The Return” tapers to a near standstill at its halfway point prior to transitioning to a ripping instrumental section. “The Return” touches upon end time themes:
He who first came to the world in peace
Will return with the sword
He will separate His chosen and
then loose the hounds of war
Men consumed in bloodlust will engage
in battle, killing scores
Incited by the crimson horseman who
rides from shore to shore
A coming time of vengeance on a massive scale
The likes of which has never been seen
We must watch for all the signs of those final days
As we wait the return of the King
Credit must be given to Temple Of Blood for the significant steps and strides it made from Prepare For The Judement Of Mankind (a very good album in its own right) to Overlord. The band has achieved all the elements of a great album: consistent songwriting (not a bad track here), strong production values (I wish more independent releases sounded this good), adept musicianship and instrumentation and well conceived lyrics. All in all, you do not have to be a thrash/speed metal fan to appreciate Temple Of Blood: if classic/power metal (or even doom) happens to be your cup of tea then I can see Overlord – with its emphasis on melodic based vocals and songwriting - appealing to you; I would even invite fans of melodic metal and hard rock to check this out. Highly recommended.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Metal to Infinity webzine (Belgium)
Temple of Blood
With their very first album Temple Of Blood blew me away. As a big fan of technical Thrash with high pitched vocals I couldn't believe my ears. Nowadays only a few bands decided to play this kind of Metal, I suppose the rest isn't capable enough doing it! I was waiting for this one for a long time! I knew it would be a hard job to equalize with the debut. Once again Temple Of Blood created a very eye catching cover. Damn, how I was fond of their very first front cover! Also their old school band logo never missed its attractive effect on me or why did you think I ordered a T-shirt from these Thrashers?
Let's talk about the music now! Temple Of Blood is still the band I adored a few years ago; after a short intro TOB takes off with the fast and furious riff of 'Behind The Inverted Star'. Crunchy and tight riffs are the mark of this Christian band, riffs that will remind you to the early years of Death Angel, Forbidden and Testament. Great bands to be compared with, no? Also the rhythmic foundation of this first song is outstanding; fast and enraging! To me the best Thrash Metal bands mixes speedy songs with powerful melodic mid tempo songs.
With 'Summon The Accused', Temple Of Blood is delivering me what I want, a tremendous track! Form, structure, balance, focus and melody are in a perfect balance, just the way I like it! On 'Fearsome Warrior', the speed is devastating and the technical arrangements don't miss their effect on me, as a fanatic of this genre. Also the opening riff of 'Illusion Of Control' is overpowering and will hit you hard in the face. The choruses with backing vocals are sounding very 'eighties'; they remind me to the old Anthrax. Talking about the guitar works I have to mention the fast fingered guitar solos. Temple Of Blood contains Jim Mullis and Matt Barnes as guitar players and both are doing a great job. The way they are pulling the strings is lifting this band up to a higher level. If you're into technical Thrash Temple of Blood invites you to their sinister and aggressive Metal feast!
With 'Black Day Of Execution', Temple Of Blood is seriously slowing down. This old Sabbath-like song is pure Doom Metal if you would ask me, the opposite of what we are used from these guys. I don't mind because it's a welcome pause in this twisted CD. 'Pawn Of The Liar' is gearing up the tempo again and after two CD's the musical elements of this song sounds typical for this band. With 'Harbinger' Temple Of Blood shows that they're a typical US Metal band! This up tempo varied US Power Metal song has an aggressive approach but still sounds very symphonic. Some superb solos are weaved in this track, it's another precious amalgam of musical elements.
I didn't talk about the vocals until now. The reason is that this CD contains a cover from Forbidden, an extreme difficult band to cover because of the vocals. These re-united Thrashers always were idols to me, especially because of the very first albums. Russ Anderson is a fantastic singer, with a strong and very high pitched unique voice. It is always impossible to hook up with him, so I was curious about TOB's version of 'Forbidden Evil' . Musical wise I can tell this cover is fantastic but also the vocals are very good although Jim Mullis doesn't own the Anderson's lungs. I bow my head deep because this guy accepted the challenge to play this cover! Jim Mullis is overall a fantastic singer and I like his typical timbre, vocal sound, high screams and vocal lines.
After this exciting cover the cadence is measuring again with 'Anthem Of The Unseen'. I really like the structure of this one; a (US) Power Metal ravager with once again great vocals and solos. The high energetic 'The Return' ends this album and contains the typical components of this band; yes Temple Of Blood produced an own sound and that makes them a great band! I hope they will hold on to them, without exaggerating because in that case boringness belongs to the possibilities.
At first I wasn't that enthusiastic about the new Temple Of Blood; I suppose I missed the surprising effect from the first release. After multiple listens I can't stop listening to this CD! There are no weaknesses and TOB is taking you from the one highlight to another. This band contains good composers, even better performers. They know how Metal should sound and this US Power / Speed / Thrash is indeed innovating in the new millennium. I know Jim is a Metal beast 'pur sang' and I am begging Oliver from KIT, Thomas from HOA or Vollker from Swordbrothers to bring these guys to Europe! A band that sounds like Realm, Heathen, Toxik and Flotsam & Jetsam deserves a place on your bills!
I can also hope Temple Of Blood is ready to search for a good label; come on guys! Check this fantastic release at http://www;templeofblood.net or http://www.myspace.com/templeofblood
My Points: 92/100 (review by Officer Nice)
Metal Metropolis (Norway)
Temple of Blood
Where can one possibly go after such a striking debut as Temple Of Blood's 'Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind'? Well, one could always turn it up a notch!! And that is what these guys from Alabama have done. As much as I liked their first CD, 'Overlord' surpasses it in ever possible way. First of all, the musicianship is again absolutely stunning! Matt and Jim have created enough riffs on this album that would last other bands a life-time! Adding some tasty solos, not for flashing skills, but to create the perfect metal songs, never hurt either. Razor sharp, and with surgical precision they crank through one speed metal number after another. Ex-Antithesis 4-string punisher, James Lewis, has taken over the bass-duties. And it's a pleasure to listen to a band that actually let's the bass be heard in the mix. The drums are galloping along, but don't expect any mechanical blastbeats or anything that sounds programmed. This is thorough craftsmanship, played with the heart, and not only with the bass pedals. Again Jim Mullins might be an acquired taste. I liked his approach on their last effort, so I'm not one to complaint here either. Still people seem to either like his style, or not. He sounds like a cross between Messiah Marcolin (ex-Candlemass), Ski (Faith Factor, ex-Deadly Blessing) and John Cyriis (Agent Steel). Not a bad combination, if you ask me. For whatever reason his voice has been pushed quite far back in the mix this time. But as long as the band keep cranking their old school speed and thrash metal, I will continue to support this band. I mean where else will you find a band that in 2008 records a fine cover of the mighty Forbidden? "Forbidden Evil" is not only done justice, I am willing to bet that the original band would be proud of such a fine act covering their classic with so much love. And that is just it with Temple Of Blood. They love the thrash metal, speed metal and power metal of the 80's and early 90's so much, they are hell bent on recreating the same music still today. Even the production on 'Overlord' is a throwback to the glory days of this style of music. So in my ears they succeed just fine.
Killer tracks: Descent Into Treachery, Illusion Of Control, Harbinger, Anthem To The Universe, The Return
Alternative Zine (Israel)
Temple of Blood
It's been three years since I reviewed Temple Of Blood's debut album – Prepare For The Judgment Of Mankind, and it's good to finally see a second release from this talented US speed metal band.
Overlord continues exactly where their first left off – melodic speed/thrash with fast and aggressive rhythms, highly melodic and sophisticated guitar riffs, brilliant melodic leads, and great high-pitched melodic vocals courtesy of guitarist/vocalist and main writer Jim Mullis.
Bringing to mind some early annihilator along with classic bands such as Intruder and Attacked, the band goes straight for a fast number named Behind The Inverted Star. Great riffs and a bit of a complex structure, musically it doesn’t differ from the band's earliest material – Mullis' writing skills have obviously been honed well-before these two albums were released, and he remains a sharp and talented writer.
Summon The Accused slows things down a bit and goes for a bit more of a classic 80's American power metal feel with some Iron Maiden melodies thrown in for good measure. Mullis provides us with some of his best vocals yet, and the rest of the band provides excellent support with strong rhythm work.
They keep it interesting as things progress, from the more progressive and somewhat doomy feel of Black Day Of Execution, with its clean guitar mid-section and rather depressive feel, to such relentless thrashers as the next number – Pawn Of The Liar, which provides some great twin guitar work from the band.
One thing that does feel better than the first album – is the sound, still clear and crunchy, it feels a bit bigger and adds some needed depth to the guitar and drum work.
A great bonus us is a cover version the band does of Forbidden's classic track - Forbidden Evil, taken from their debut – one of my all-time favorite thrash albums. They keep it similar to the original, but definitely add their own signature to yet, mainly visible in Mullis' vocal delivery and a bit more speed on the riffs.
Though the band's lyrics and overall theme remains etched in Christian themes, they again refrain from overdoing it in the songs themselves, thus not coming off as preachy, the lyrics rather sounding like dark, somewhat mystical allegories pertaining to doomsday and the end of the world – not an uncommon theme among metal bands…
Old school and satisfying, this is easily one of the better current speed band operating in the US scene today, combing a high technical ability alongside aggression while maintaining a solid grip on melody. Definitely another thumbs up for this great band.
Hard n Heavy Commonwealth
Temple of Blood
Now here we have the second album by these Power-Thrashers from Alabama. It contains nine own songs (+ intro) and a cover of Forbidden`s "Forbidden Evil".
The first song "Behind the inverted Star" is a great start - crushing In-Your-Face-Thrash with lots of tempo variations, high-tech drum- and bass-work, and both of the most characteristical ToB components - awesome guitars and vocals! The fast starting riff reminds me of Evile (both in sound and style) and is turning into some speedy Power-Thrash riffing, ace twin-guitar work a la Maiden and sharp soloing. Jim Mullis` vocals are powerful, melodic and could be directly out of some 80s Power-(Prog) Metal band, like Queensryche, Omen, Fates Warning or Helstar.
Song two is musically following the origins of those mentioned bands. It`s very much typical 80s Power-Metal in the veins of Helstar. Again great vocals and music.
In the following songs, ToB are varying their style, again and again - some songs are pure Power-Thrash, some are straight Power Metal. To those basics, they add a lot of melody, some slower songs, and even a doomy-epic piece, like "Blackday of Execution". Rounded by the very strong Forbidden cover, that should be very good in the book of every fan of technical Thrash Metal!
All in all a very mature songwriting that makes this CD a "real album", in the best sense of the term. There is no weak moment on that whole CD and the highlights for me are the vocals, the great melodies, the style mix and the guitar sound, that is sharp, crunchy and old-sounding in a very good sense. The whole album gives me a warm feeling of classic 80s Metal, combined with modern technical skills and styles. Modern Power-Thrash, with very strong traditional roots, at it`s very best! Highly recommended - and not only for Thrashers!
Jesus Metal webzine
Temple of Blood
Classic Thrashers Temple of Blood recently returned after 3 years with another metal-assault. Many loved their debut, Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind, and they should, that album was a successful timetravel back to the 80's-90's, where a genre like this reigned supreme. Overlord does exactly the same, only better. Since the band took their time to improve on pretty much everything.
The guitar riffs are really what make this band stand out, no less than great thrashing riffage relentlessly tearing your face off. Very melodic and a whole bunch of solos worth mentioning. All supported by galloping rhythm-guitars. These guys have been working a lot on the writing of riffs, since the improvement is huge.
The drums are following the tempo of the guitars, mostly uptempo beats accompanied with quite some double bass. Some of the fills played are really classy. I really enjoy the sound of the drums.
The vocals are quite special, mostly a hit or miss, since they're not exactly your typical thrash vocals, more of a heavy-speed hybrid. High-pitched, falsetto, but also some in the lower registers, They are executed well, and the high-end vocals are loud enough in the production, but the lower vocals seem to be a bit too quiet, one of the little remarks I do have to make.
Track 7 (Pawn of the Liar) is probably my favourite track on the album, straight-forward up-tempo thrashing with a shredding solo added, this song really has pretty much everything I want to hear in a thrash band. The rhythm guitar also does a great job here.
For those interested, this album also has a cover track (Forbidden Evil by Forbidden) I looked up the original track since I wasn't familiar with it, and I have to say they did a very good job playing the song in their own way yet with keeping the essential feeling.
If you get as far as appreciating this type of vocals accompanying thrash then you should love Temple of Blood, this is for you who want to relive the golden times of thrash.
Review by Matt (October 18 - 2008)
Friday the 13th webzine
Temple of Blood
Temple Of Blood were formed back in 2001 in the U.S. as a 4 piece. The bands current line-up is: Jim Mullis (guitar/ vocals), Matt Barnes (guitar), Lance Wright (drums), Jim Lewis (bass) previously with Antithesis, who released 2 albums. These guys have released 2 albums to date, their debut 'Prepare For Judgment Of Mankind' was also released as a self financed album back in 2006. That album was pretty impressive and I was ego to await the bands latest album 'Overlord'. I have to say that Jim's vocals are pretty impressive stuff and remind me of John Arch (Fates Warning), Agent Steel, Over Kill, Deliverance. Musically these guys play across between Power Metal and Thrash and it does work well for this band. It is very 80's/ early 90's and I am impressed with this release, its a big step forward from that of the bands debut album. The guitar work by Jim and Matt do jell well and with Matt's screaming vocals gives it that added touch. The rythem section of Jim and Lance also work well. I can hear the likes of Jim previous band in here and the likes also of Helstar, Omen, Destiny's End, Oliver Magnum and so on... it's a shame that the band don't have a deal with a decent label. I am sure there must be a label out there that's will to sign these guys up. Some interesting playing here with lots of twists and turns. Songs I like are: Descent Into Treachery, Behind The Inverted Star, Summon The Accused, Fearsome Warrior, Pawn Of The Lair, Forbidden Evil (Forbidden Cover, a great cover version), The Return. This is an impressive 2nd album, come on labels give them a change, there some right sh-- out there been signed up!! I await more from these guys in the future. By the way did I mention there a Christian band??
Metal Perspective webzine
Temple of Blood
This is not a fresh release, it's been out for several months now but I hadn't had the chance reviewing it until now. 3 years after the release of their first album, Alabama's sensation return in a pure thrashing mood. Temple Of Blood have always been taking sides; their allegiance is with Jesus and old school American thrash metal and while their first album made that first part crystal clear, it's "Overlord" that's coming to score the second. For those of you having heard their first album, this will come as a natural evolution of strengthening one's style. For those of you who don't but still enjoy good old school thrash "Overlord" will grab you by the b---s and give you a violent spin!
"Prepare For The Judgment Of Mankind" was a beautiful album but also sounded as if the people behind it hadn't made up their minds yet. Thrash, power, speed and heavy metal elements were all there, but kind of randomly placed. This album clarifies the band's priorities by moving the thrash edge a huge step forward but also pushing all the other stuff just a notch back. Essentially, Temple Of Blood have come to be one of those American speed/thrash metal bands who flirted a lot with late 80s power metal i.e. Annihilator, Forbidden, Dark Angel, Heathen, Flotsam & Jetsam and early Anthrax. But these guys are no mere retro band trying to copy the old feeling; these guys know exactly what late 80s – early 90s thrash metal was all about. If you visit the band's myspace page, you'll see dozens of such bands named as influences, meaning Temple Of Blood are also fans of this particular style. This grants them the advantage of being able to put themselves in the listener's shoes thus guaranteeing its quality. "Overlord" is a modern oldie thrash metal beast and despite the contradiction of this statement, it's everything this album wishes to pass along!
To begin with, "Overlord" offers the best specimen of American thrash metal riffage. From Bay Area to New York, Temple Of Blood have found a way to put it all together along with strong essences of melody and technicality. It's not a pure mosher but I tell ya, some of the riffs in here would make any thrasher start a pit in a heartbeat (Behind the inverted star, Fearsome warrior, Pawn of the liar, The return)! Regardless of this fact, "Overlord" is not an album of impressive thrash riffage only but also an album of great melody and heavy metal spirit. Take note, "Summon the accused" is a pure power metal finger entangler, "Black day of execution" is like those doom Overkill interludes while "Anthem to the unseen" is a classic mid-paced heavy metal number. And all of this boils down way neater than their first album. On the other hand, old school also implies a prime production enforcing the lead guitars on their killing spree. The guitar work in here is simply breathtaking and I'm always glad to see great players doing music the old way! Vocals are also great, high pitched in their majority but also colorful.
As for the lyrical themes, they still revolve around the Christian myth. In this album you'll find symbolic stories about Samson, Jesus walking towards his crucifixion and the good old combination of Christian preaching: the terrors awaiting all of those denying Christ and how no one ever seems to learn from their mistakes. As far as I'm concerned, it could be way worse than this. In my opinion praising Jesus through metal is equally lame as praising Satan. Regardless of my beliefs and the fact that these same quotes are recycled by Christian metal bands again and again leading me to think "oh no, not that sh-- again", I have to say that lyrics do not attract a bigger attention than normal. Do whatever your beliefs prompt you to do about these lyrical messages, but whether you're Christian, Satanist, Atheist or Confusian, you can't deny this is a (whatever you may call) HELL of an album! It certainly won its place among my 2008's favorites and I'm sure it's going to do so with many of you guys! God bless the old school!!
Reviewer: George Tassis
Alpha Omega Christian Metal Band contest
Temple of Blood
Temple Of Blood is among the last of a dying breed of true form, old school metal. From the beginning of the assault on their forthcoming effort 'Overlord' with track 2, entitled 'Behind The Inverted Star' it becomes apparent that these guys aren't messing around. Their bone-crushing riffs coupled with a seemingly endless vocal range, and a phenominal rhythm section suggests that this outfit has spent countless hours rehearsing and perfecting their sound. But this isn't a band that just causes whiplash and brain trauma, as is heard in the melody of 'Summon The Accused.' The lead guitar work really jumps out at the listener, catching and keeping attention all the way through. This truly is a masterpiece of hard driving metal along with absolute creativity and uniqueness.
The lyrics have been well thought out, as is especially apparent in 'Illusion of Control' and 'Harbinger.' The message of Temple Of Blood is a sharp and everlasting one, and is powerfully driven home all the way to the end of the album with a sonic riffage array and vocal attack in the closing track 'The Return.'
The Refinery Rock Radio
Temple of Blood
Temple of Blood's sophomore album "Overlord" is ten tracks of fast, furious, blazin' metal at it's finest; oh, and an intro.... So let's give this thing a spin. The first track 'Descent into Treachery' is just that, an intro. Track number two 'Behind the Inverted Star' starts off this album with total metal mayhem and doesn't let off until the end. Track three, Summon the Accused, is not as fast as the first but rocks just as much. I like this song and notice a slight 'Iron Maiden' vibe to it. Track four, Fearsome Warrior, has some thrash elements to it that just make you want to bang your head until it falls off...yeah! So far this album causes me much pain, must bang head! 'Illusion of Control' is the fifth track, and they are not letting up a bit! This song is another mosh injected neck breaker, though not as fast as the last. Track six 'Black Day of Execution' is a slow doomy song that is actually kind of boring...Oh well, my neck needs a break. Mosh time! Track seven, Pawn of the Liar, takes us right back into tremendous pain with the pedal to the metal! This song is just insanely fast and will activate mosh pits all across the land. Track eight is called 'Harbinger' and also has some sweet fury. This is a great song, it starts off at break neck speed, slows down to just about the point of clear vision and then takes off again....yeah! 'Forbidden Evil' is track nine, which has kind of a Megadeth feel to it. Must...bang... head..ahhhhhhh! Ok, track ten, Anthem of the Unseen; this is a slower, doomy, uh, well, an anthem...yeah. The last track, The Return, is another blazing song that is sure to make aspirin a profit. This song ends the album the way it started.
So all together, this is one smokin' album, though not intended for the faint of heart or anyone with neck injuries. This is a great album and I highly recommend it.
Reviewed by: Tom Johns
Metal To Infinity webzine (2nd review)
Temple of Blood
Huntsville, Alabama based Temple Of Blood took me for the first time by the throat with their album “Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind”, independently released in 2005 and loaded with high velocity Speed/Power/Thrash Metal compositions, pure American style. Founded by singer/vocalist Jim Mullis and drummer Lance Wright in 2001, Temple Of Blood hypnotized me all over with their form of US Metal! We at Metal To Infinity were very pleased with the debut album and watched with great interest to album number two. Well, the follow up to “Prepare For The Judgement Of Mankind” already has been released back in 2008 but albums like this deserve a second review from us at MTI webzine. One of our editors named Officer Nice wrote down his thoughts of “Overlord” a while ago, as a US Metal maniac myself I see no other way than to write my own version for this awesome band’s second output.
To surpass their debut album would seem an almost impossible task so I was curious about the end result of “Overlord”. Temple Of Blood is still unsigned which is an unfair fact to me, band like this should just be able to close a deal with a decent label but we all now that life isn’t fair at all so… Anyway, I’m glad they keep going without label and can tell already by now that “Overlord” is just another fantastic album! All of the songs has been created on such a high level, Jim Mullis’ unique way of high pitched way of singing still give me chills. And I have not even talked about the breathtaking guitar works. Matt Barns in charge as rhythm guitarist, Jim Mullis takes, besides the vocals, also the fantastic lead for his account. Based on what these two gentlemen musically mean to the entire Temple Of Blood sound is indescribable. Also big respect to super drummer Lance Wright which capabilities are equal to almighty Gene Hoglan, technical fast way of skin bashing! Former bassist Lovvorn was thanked for his services, Jim Mullis took his task.
“Overlord” opens with the intro ‘Descent Into The Treachery’ followed by ‘Behind The Inverted Star’, a first test for your neck muscles. This Speed Metal hulk got me by the throat right on - three Minutes full speed ahead with no remorse. More high-speed velocities comes around with ‘Fearsome Warrior’, in the vein of technical US merchants Oracle, Forte and Deliverance… If the album continues like this is a cardiac arrest nearby I guess. ‘Black Day Of Execution’ sounds a bit unexpected for a band like TOB. I do not dislike this song at all, it’s just some kinda rare to hear the band playing a Doom Metal work in the vein of old Black Sabbath. Afterwards, there is no time to rest any longer because ‘Pawn Of The Liner’ is approaching. Aggression offered by the grace of Speed/Thrash Metal, what a great combination of both lead and rhythm guitar lines. Ultra fast played with a good eye for detailed technical perfection, mighty good!
‘Harbringer’ has a short drum solo in the beginning and again, guitar wizards Jim and Matt seized for all my attention once again. Than it’s time for a magical moment, Temple Of Blood plays a cover of one of the best Bay Area Thrash Metal bands ever, named Forbidden. From their legendary debut album, TOB deliver the song ‘Forbidden Evil’ in style! Musically based, there is almost no different to note with the original version. You might say that it’s only a cover song but this version is so perfectly approached, you must be really good to make this happen… and Temple Of Blood is really good! Second last ‘Anthem To The Unseen’ brings heaven in my living room due to its typical US Power Metal feel. Temple Of Blood’s “Overlord” masterpiece ends with a song called ‘The Return’ and means that this is your last chance to bang your head on the rhythms of thrash.
Temple Of Blood’s second album “Overlord” has not exceeded the quality of its predecessor, they are rather bold to each other. I still do not understand why so many awesome US Metal are forced to work independently. This, so beautiful gem, seem undervalued by a lot of people, which is completely unjustified to me! I will always continue to support US Metal as good as I can, maybe you could do the same… at least if you have a good taste of music. Check out TOB at: www.templeofblood.net / www.myspace.com/templeofblood US Metal still reigns supreme !
My Points: 96 / 100
Reviewed by: Stefan
Mario's Metal Mania
Temple of Blood
A Christian metalband reviewed by atheist Mario? Don't be afraid; I never judge bands by their politics, religion or other believes. Only thing that counts for me are the songwriting and musicianship of a band; it doesn't matter if they are singing about Jesus or even Satan. Its up to me!
I already reviewed the bands first album "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind" last year and I was blown away by these guys! The debut album was for me one of the (or maybe even the) best albums recorded in 2006! This is metal exactly in the way I like it; pure US-metal with great songs; great shredding guitars, superb solos, double bass drums and a high pitching singer! Awesome! You can understand how curious I was about the successor from "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind".
After the intro the first song 'Behind the Inverted Star' begins again with great shredding guitars and singer Jim Mullis is singing the stars from the sky (or should I say heaven?) Superb song! The next song "Summon the Accused" is a very nice up tempo song which brings some variation in this album. "Fearsome Warrior" is again a full speed ahead song which are mostly my favourites! "Illusion of Control" starts with an acoustic intro but turns into a kind of Bay Area thrashsong with some crossover elements. "Black Day of Execution" is a doom song which I don't like at all, especially not when its released by a band of this calibre. "Pawn of the Liar" is again a great speedmetal song with superb high pitch vocals! Awesome! "Harbringer" is again a nice midtempo song. Next song is a cover of Forbidden's "Forbidden Evil" which is performed very well but is far from equal from the original. Jim Mullis is a great singer but his vocal range is totally different from Russ Anderson's voice (even if Russ Anderson cant sing anymore these days). A bit of a disappointment if you ask me. Musically it still kicks ass and also the solos are great but its not comparable with the original recording. After the moderate "Anthem of the Unseen" the album closes with the incredible "The Return".
Conclusion: again a great album but not as good as its predecessor "Prepare for the Judgement of Mankind". Especially because of the weak song " Black Day of Execution" and the moderate Forbidden cover. Nevertheless still a band to check out if you're into real US-metal with speed & high pitching vocals! Strange that the band still has no record deal???