HEAVY TEMPLE crash forth like a roaring mastodon in a thunderstorm with their first official full-length, “Lupi Amoris”, and it has all the makings of a landmark record.
As progressive as BARONESS but unselfconscious, as heavy as FU MANCHU but more adventurous, this Philadelphia trio throws every lever in the riff-metal machine, yet also wield lyrical concepts that register on literary levels.
“Lupi Amoris” offers a one-way trip through wide-open spaces and deep forests. Its songs wind and deposit heavy flotsam like a mighty musical stream, pushing through swirling rapids, cutting through riff-mountains, and swelling with addictive grooves. Riding atop the sonic waves, singer and bass player High Priestess Nighthawk belts powerfully over the roaring din.
When HEAVY TEMPLE came into being on the 2012 winter solstice, the trio was after the pure fun and joy of playing heavy music, illustrated by each founding member’s chosen nom de guerre: High Priestess Nighthawk, Rattlesnake, and Bearadactyl.
At first, playing shows locally in Philly, the band quickly gained an excellent live reputation, leading to tours alongside RUBY THE HATCHET, MOTHERSHIP, ROYAL THUNDER, and CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. Invitations to notable festivals included The Maryland Doom Fest, Psycho Las Vegas, and Decibel Metal & Beer, among many others. It’s an impressive live showing made even more remarkable when considering that HEAVY TEMPLE has yet to release their debut full-length.
After their first self-released and self-titled EP “Heavy Temple” (2014) was picked up by esteemed German cult label Ván Records, the self-released single “Love You To Death” and sophomore EP “Chassit” followed in 2016. The second single “Key & Bone” arrived in 2018, and the split 7″ “From the Black Hole” with WOLFBLOOD materialized in 2020, but it took until 2021 for a full album to appear on the horizon at last. It speaks volumes about HEAVY TEMPLE‘s talent and the face-melting live impact that the invitations to attractive tours and prestigious festivals continued to roll in any way.
Although HEAVY TEMPLE leverage all the trappings of traditionally male-oriented metal (to the point that their sound could proudly sport a full beard), the powerful presence of frontwoman and sole remaining founding member High Priestess Nighthawk merges their glorious heaviness with a strong thematic line of feminine strength.
“Lupi Amoris” is Latin for “Wolves of Love,” and takes strong inspiration from Angela Carter’s story “The Company of Wolves“. In it, the narrative of Red Riding Hood is flipped from a cautionary tale about the dangers of lust and desire, feelings young women were traditionally expected to stifle, to a story of female sexuality and power reclaimed. “Lupi Amoris” finds the Philly outfit aligning with a Red Riding Hood who is freed from the traditional bounds of what’s expected.
Proving that it’s quite possible to hammer out gargantuan stoner doom and still say something about life’s realities, HEAVY TEMPLE makes a fierce and much-needed statement with “Lupi Amoris”, and at these volumes, the world is guaranteed to hear it.
Recorded & mixed by Will Spectre at Red Water Recordings
Mastered by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound Mastering
Artwork by Alex Reisfar
Layout by Zach Thomas
Photos: (c) Gene Smirnov