Saturday, 23 January 2016

Temple of Gnosis - “De Secretis Naturae Alchymial” (Album Review)

By: Richard Jaspering

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 04 March 2016
Label: Aeternitus Tenebraerum
Musicae Fundamentum


It’s a record that is certainly meant for active hearing and apprehension of information, a kind of audio primer to humanity’s mysteries. I liken it on the whole to avant-garde synthesist Mort Garson’s work in “Lucifer” or, if you’ve a yen for Judeo-Christian lyrical offerings, Om may suffice for comparison, but the comparison truly ends with its similitude in thematic quality. Grim, old, wise and as humorless as any ancient script, Temple Of Gnosis offers a heady primer to natural secrets and a very solid work of doom.


“De Secretis Naturae Alchymial” CD//DD track Listing

1) Unto The Earth
2) Serpentivm
3) Sol Katharsis
4) Tree Of Life
5) Disciplvi H. Trismegistvs
6) The Twelve Keys
7) Absolvtio

The Review

Rife with heretical esoterica and composed of solemn audio edicts, Temple Of Gnosis’ “De Secretis Naturae Alchymical” is one man’s work of doom and death metal that stands apart from other solo musical projects of this kind insofar as its subject matter, atmospheric measure and pacing.  The listener is invited to achieve wisdom from its introduction in “Unto The Earth,” a deific announcement in altered basso of tenets principal to the metaphysical systems of alchemy augmented by darkened synthesized sounds, somber piano notes and reversed incidentals.

After one is greeted by a trinity of voices in an abyssian sphere, the music properly begins in “Serpentivm.” Here there is nothing of the bravado-laden blasting forth that can at times proceed mysterious-sounding intros; low, dirging riffs and a very straightforward beat in four/four leads your ears into doomed terrain. Temple Of Gnosis lets slip into absences of rhythm and cements the topic of the ambiance by parrying convention in song-craft, attempting to place fear of knowledge as paramount to visceral enjoyment.

“Sol Katharsis” pulls forth from the serpent’s jaws a scroll of dread, but its words are first mired by occult articulation. Could it be that the intended effect is to symbolize slow emergence from benighted simplicity into enlightenment? Here, the rhythms are more steady and bear greater semblance to metal, however slow or methodical.  From this birthing in track three, another story emerges in “Tree Of Life,” a take on the Biblical story of creation and of the “Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil”. This tale is begun with the sounds of birds in trees and of a seeming empty Earth, but soon the hammer of judgment falls when it is seen by the God that “Man has become like one of us” by eating the fruit of knowledge. At this point, the record becomes a much heavier and aggressive matter, very reflective of the anger of the deceit of the Godhead at Adam’s inadvertent attempt at usurping Him and of the gravity of death in the revelation of mortality in this original sin. Here, of course, Adam and Eve are banished from the garden of earthly delights to a waiting world of toil and decay.

“Disciplvi H. Trismegistvs” is an ode to the thrice-great philosopher, priest and king “Hermes Trismegistus”, master of the universe’s three great wisdoms (alchemy, astrology and theurgy) and carries the record’s heightening-yet-contained sonic aggression very well. Its double-bass-filled drum patterns crash fluidly into fuzz-washed, bass-driven terrorscapes and the reemergence of atonality and grim narration herald the track’s conclusion. It’s an effortless eight minutes thirty, and it’s the track I most often returned to hear.

In “The Twelve Keys,” the listener is further indoctrinated through glimpses in to the secrets of Basil Valentine’s alchemist treatise by the same name. Its introduction is via bell sounds and there is quite a lot of swirling, abrasive guitar work throughout, making it stand out from the majority of the album’s songs by virtue of its conventionally metallic nature. To conclude the work, the four-minute-long “Absolvtio” is an instrumental outro that is a fitting end and could signify a release from the intensity one may invest in listening to Temple Of Gnosis first LP.

It’s a record that is certainly meant for active hearing and apprehension of information, a kind of audio primer to humanity’s mysteries. I liken it on the whole to avant-garde synthesist Mort Garson’s work in “Lucifer” or, if you’ve a yen for Judeo-Christian lyrical offerings, Om may suffice for comparison, but the comparison truly ends with its similitude in thematic quality. Grim, old, wise and as humorless as any ancient script, Temple Of Gnosis offers a heady primer to natural secrets and a very solid work of doom. 

“De Secretis Naturae Alchymial” is available here

Band info: bandcamp | facebook

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