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grave temple - The Holy Down
Grave Temple (or the Grave Temple Trio depending on who you talk to) is the meeting of musical behemoths Stephen O'Malley (Sunn O)))), Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Tormentor) and Oren Ambarchi, and what better way to usher in a morning of supreme (and at times extreme) doom? What's more, this record is the document of a one off live show recorded in the war-torn (if you're to read the press release) land of Israel, and all this serendipity is rolled into one of the finest explorations the doom genre has yet seen. The disc begins simply enough with the kind of scrapes and scratches you'd expect to hear on a Svarte Greiner track, it's doom but minus the metal, let's say - but leave it a few minutes and those sheets of pure blackness begin to rise from beneath the ground. Before too long we're into prime drone territory with Ambarchi's patented sine bubbles pitted head-to-head against O'Malley's distorted guitar and the abused vocal chords of Csihar whisper sour nothings into the ears of dead revellers. The initially harmonious (almost sacred sounding) sheets of sound eventually rise up into pure distorted agony across the gigantic sixty minute duration until we hit the forty-five minute mark when (I assume) Ambarchi sidles over to a drumkit and does his thing. The remaining fifteen minutes evolve into an explosive collision of free-jazz/metal drumming and blackest of black drones and is one of the most interesting areas the genre has fallen into of late. Ambarchi's drumming is spot on and surprisingly matched to O'Malley's signature fretwork - and when the disc draws to a close it leaves you literally gasping for more. Let's hope this trio manage to record again some time soon, the idea that this could be a one-off scares me more than the disc itself... so totally essential!