Album Review: HEAVY TEMPLE Chassit
For those in the know, Heavy Temple have been one of Philadelphia's strongest doom exports in recent years. These moody fuzz merchants have always had a reputation of tripped-out, slowed-down grooves that speak to the very human suffering behind their music and remind us of the burning power that stoner doom can have over any of us. There is something strangely mesmerizing about this band's infectious grooves and swirling soundscapes, making Heavy Temple the sort of band you want to come back to time and time again. Their latest offering, the mysteriously named Chassit, is an all-encompassing five track epic of sludgy jams, potent rhythms and soaring vocals. A group who seem capable of approaching doom metal from any side, be it esoteric or down to earth, Heavy Temple have proven that they deserve a place in this wonderful new wave of modern doom that we are seeing slowly (so slowly!) take over the world. Able to shift from monolithic to simply bouncy at the drop of a hat, Chassit is the sort of masterpiece that drives its way into your heart.
The beauty of Chassit comes from the fact that it just feels so organic. The tripped-out jams fall in line perfectly next to monumental swells. The haunting implications of the distortion and the wide open nature of the sound makes you feel like Heavy Temple have taken the influence of bands like Windhand but stripped it down into something leaner and a good bit meaner. At the same time, as the opening of “Ursa Machina” proves, the band is not unwilling to dive into more experimental depths and suggest the impact of their peers in groups like Samothrace. The entire thing is rooted in a confident bluesy stomp, one that has touches of swagger but moreover focuses on the perpetual forward motion of the music. The band's incredibly talented frontwoman, the elusive Sue Denym, leads her band with a no-bullshit attitude that keeps things from feeling like a stoned group of musicians who just so happened to press the record button. Heavy Temple presents us with a much more elegant take on the stoner doom polemic.
So yeah, I could write about the Sabbathian stomp or the Sleep inspired sexiness of this band, but that's not the point. The point is that Heavy Temple has taken all of these traditional elements and trimmed them down into something magical. Rather than getting lost in the marijuana haze of the music Heavy Temple grit their teeth and push forward, balls out and guns blazing, middle fingers flying and proving to the world that we don't need your stinking jam-oriented stoner metal. Instead, Heavy Temple remind us that there is a lot of simple humanity in this music. They never feel the need to get fancy with it, but rather just give us a gentle reminder that this is what the genre was meant to be. Sure, they need to develop on it, have better production and clean up the songwriting here and there, but that's beside the point. This is Heavy Temple and they are good.