Tuesday 7 July 2015

The Nepalese Temple Ball - 'Arbor' (Album Review)

‘How this band is not a household name is beyond my comprehension, but this album should go some way to making sure that happens.’

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 23/05/2015
Label: Self Released

‘Arbor’ DD track listing:

1). A Snake for Every Year
2). Knee Deep
3). Mongolian Terror Trout
4). Gas Bird
5). Desert Baron
6). Statues in the Garden of Death
7). Astral Beard
8). The Axemen

The Nepalese Temple Ball is

Stitch Heading | Bass, Vocals
DavePhilips | Drums
Lee Husher | Guitars, vocals, soundscapes
Tim Galling | Vocals, guitars


Sometimes you get a release that seems to appear out of nowhere and completely obliterate your eardrums and your soul. The Nepalese Temple Ball has delivered such an occasion with ‘Arbor’, their debut full length. The tree on the front cover represents the band with each branch being the journey of each member. Their Facebook page cites Neurosis and Oxbow amongst their influences and although they wear their influences on their collective sleeves, they certainly have an identity of their own.

Opening track 'A Snake for Every Year' starts with some shimmering soundscapes from vocalist/guitarist/noise monger Lee which brings to mind work with Light Bearer but altogether more sinister. What follows is 9 plus minutes of sonic disembowlment; some post hardcore leaning riffs, gruff vocals from bassist Stitch and the eerie atmospherics make this song an excellent introduction to the band for new listeners. Second song 'Knee Deep' is a faster track which has a slight hint of black metal, especially in the harshness of Lee's vocals, as well as some military drumming before the 'Through Silver In Blood' era Neurosis worship beats you around the eardrums. A rerecording of 'Mongolian Terror Trout', previously available on the band's Bandcamp page is next and the band use every weapon at their disposal and is a straight up beast of a track. 'Gas Bird' is the fourth song...and boy, what a brilliant song it is! The opening riff reminiscent of Gardenia by Kyuss but fuzzier, dirtier, darker and undoubtedly heavier! The vocals from Tim sound tormented as he bellows about confronting a monster manifested from paranoia and anxiety and there's some very interesting drum work going on from drummer Dave.

Moving on then to the centrepiece 'Desert Baron', it is an instrumental that conjures up images of...A barren desert! When this played through my headphones, my mouth became dry and the temperature rose. Epic, sprawling, dissonant riffs hang in the air while the soundscapes disorientate. On the 6th track 'Statues in The Garden Of Death' the band display some of their hardcore influences for a couple of minutes before the pace slows down to let the song suffocate you slowly with it's hypnotic melodic guitar work...then they bring the doom! The final 2 songs 'Astral Beard' and 'Axe Man' put an end to proceedings rather nicely with the intricate drumming and spoken word sample of the former and the creeping noise that gives way to some good old filthy sludge with bassist Stitch handling lead vocals. The riffs are crushing, and the soundscapes wrap everything up in a harsh, caustic, atmospheric blanket. The latter, a song about man's destructive nature, bleeds in the soundscapes and dissonant drumming before a devastating riff cuts through. The vocals are screamed/shouted in unison as the song hammers that main riff home before everything breaks down and the noise breathes the album's final breaths.

Overall, this is a tremendous release. How this band is not a household name is beyond my comprehension, but this album should go some way to making sure that happens.

Words by: Chris Bull

‘Arbor’ is available for download here

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