Vanhelgd – Temple Of Phobos album review

Swedeath metallers Vanhelgd bring some gloom to the Sunshine sound with new album

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The fourth full-length from this Swedish death metal outfit shows further progression towards moodier doom metal tempos and gloomy atmospherics.

It’s a dismal and more poignant sound, reminiscent of early Paradise Lost or Anathema. Still retaining the trademark old-school attack of razor-sharp HM-2 pedal on max distortion and a trademark commanding vocal brutality, Temple Of Phobos has more clarity thanks to its moments of mid-paced throb, breaking up the speedy clamour and creating passages of murky rumination.

These swelling tremolo-driven riffs and lead guitar swathes evoke an atmosphere of forlorn black metal and thanks to some subtle keyboards and the occasional female backing vocal, gradually builds to an aura of total hopelessness, which according to the band is their heaviest, gloomiest and blackest work so far. Mastered at Necromorbus, Temple… has benefitted from the refinement the infamous studio seems to grant its other projects, the album’s larger sound revealing a maturity that’s a far cry from the claustrophobic barbarity of Vanghelgd’s earlier work. The perfect antidote for a summer’s day.