Black Metal, Crust Punk, Metal, Punk

Yonder – Temple of Eyes (Review)

Album: Temple of Eyes
Genre: Black Metal / Crust Punk
Country: Germany
Release date: 31st of May 
Released via Coldvalley Cultists in cooperation with WOOAAARGH and 5FeetUnder
Cover artwork © Yonder 2019

In February, Post-Black Metal pioneers Downfall of Gaia released their fifth full-length studio album Ethic of Radical Finitude – and I was massively overwhelmed by the sound it offered. At that point, I thought that it would almost be impossible to come up with a release in 2019 that was able to compete with what I heard from Downfall of Gaia in the section of Crust-infused Black Metal or anything similar. However, after browsing through the internet and clicking through several YouTube promo pages, I happened to come across a quartet from Stuttgart in Germany – Yonder – and hell they proved me wrong.

Yonder is a quartet from southern Germany and has so far only released a demo ( Demo MMXVI ) in 2016 that is up for free download on Bandcamp. The band describe their own style as “Blackened Crust” – which points at the fact that the Crust elements are supposed to be more prominent in the music. The demo already depicted that Yonder is not interested in playing short and quick tracks, since the shortest track on the demo is already longer than five minutes. With the longest track at 9 minutes – we can boldly subsume that progression in music seems to be an important factor for Yonder. Usually, I am no big fan of analyzing music track by track – but since this release only consists of three tracks, it is easily possible to pace through every song available.

On their latest release Temple of EyesYonder successfully try to embrace a combination of Crust and Black Metal. The first track “Rust / Dust” instantly showcases the combination of both of the genres during the first two minutes. We kick off with an absolutely freezing Black Metal riff that is combined with a punchy Punk drum pattern. Half a minute into the track, a short break is continued by diving into a fast D-Beat accompanying the aforementioned Black Metal riff thus drastically accelerating the sound. At this point, vocalist Paul kicks in with his ferocious voice remaining somewhere right between high-pitched Black Metal and a slight guttural addition – to a certain extent reminding of the intensity of Integrity’s Dwid Hellion. The melodies on the guitar on this track often switch between decent Neocrust riffs and freezing Black Metal sound. Andre on the drums is the key when it comes to distinguishing between Black Metal or Crust sound – with the variety of drum patterns he offers throughout the track – the sound frantically oscillates between conveying a Crust or Black Metal sound. In the end, Alex’ guitar also subtely adds a light Gazey sound on top – even feeling slightly Sunbathory at this point.

The second, EP-titled track “Temple of Eyes” begins with slow drums and another Neocrust melodious riff with a slight touch of Gaze. This only takes a few seconds and progresses into what seems to be more obviously referencing the primitive and raw sound of Norwegian Black Metal. During the first half, there are no overt melodies oozing from the riffs as was hearable on the first track. Three quarters through the track, though, Yonder take their pace to a breakdown and submerge into an incredibly sounding Black Metal riff that feels a lot like Mayhem‘s “Freezing Moon” for a second. After that, the riff is alternated into being shredded and eventually gets back to the beginning of the breakdown. With this track on second spot, Yonder succeeds to show that they are capable to handle both their love for Crust and Black Metal. The sound differs a lot from “Rust / Dust,” especially regarding the guitar and the drums. Unfortunately, Andre does not switch patterns from Blast Beat to D-Beat as often as on the first track. However – if we consider this actually to be a take on 2nd Wave Norwegian Black Metal – the more strict pattern of the drums could be assumed as one additional point in order to grasp that sound.

The final track “Burden” begins with yet another riff showcasing a mixture of Black Metal and Neocrust – and continues emerging into one of the fastest sequences of the entire EP. At this point – the production of the drums can most obviously step into forefront. When the vocals and drums kick in, the synergy between Paul and Andre triggers a raging sonical avalanche – dismantling everything blocking the way. During my first listening process – this was the point where the entire EP convinced me. “Burden” totally blends both of the genres that were at some points distinguishable during the first two tracks and reintroduces the more complex drum patterns Andre has already provided in “Rust / Dust”. In the middle of the track, Alex on the guitar once again takes the entire track to a halt and transcends into harmonizing melodies – eventually kicking back into the frenzy we experienced before. As final track of the EP, “Burden” absolutely serves the function of culmination.

This should be listened to – at high volume – frequently.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

9 / 10

The favorite track “Burden” was also added to the Transcended Review Playlist.

Roman’s and Steven’s tape version of Temple of Eyes

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