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Temple of Gnosis: De Secretis Naturae Alchymica

This band draws on Western occult traditions for inspiration; indeed, the purpose of the music is to reflect the process of transforming the self into something entirely new, something reborn. Other bands have looked to such sources, but this album does so in ways that struck me as original and insightful. As the title suggests, things regularly connect to alchemy, but not the clichéd kind that kids learn about in school, the kind that tries to turn base metals into gold. No, this is the alchemy of the esoteric thinkers, the kind that tries to discover ways of transforming the self, possibly even finding the secrets of immortality. The lyrics, so far as I can tell, draw directly from ancient texts to highlight their ritual forms and insights. Even though this album can be enjoyed casually, I found that it required much more effort to focus on the words, most of which are genuinely interesting. I recognized the language of Genesis in "Tree of Life" and I also recognized the reference to Hermes Trismegistus in track number 5. I don't know all the texts cited here but I have enough familiarity with esoteric thought to know that this album is not citing this material superficially.

The music is mostly a hybrid of doom and death metal with a little bit of symphonic materials thrown in. The vocals are dark and deep, sometimes lurking in the background, sometimes front and center. I liked the incantatory qualities of the vocals on "Serpentivm" but I sometimes found the vocals more off-putting than inviting. As I mentioned, I understood some of the lyrical content, but would have liked things even more had I worked through the album with the lyrics in front of me.

On the whole, this is a fascinating and intriguing use of occult materials. I really enjoyed the closing track "Absolvito." I also liked "Tree of Life" and Serpentivm." I'd love to hear more from this band and would be especially interested in seeing how they handle the music in concert. The vocals sometimes distracted me from the dark ambient spaces of the music by placing so much emphasis on delivering actual content. Put another way, the lyrics here require real attention, not passive listening. In general, I found the album fascinating for its heavy emphasis on Western occultism. I also liked its blend of dark ambient and doom metal.

Track Listing:
1. Unto the Earth
2. Serpentium
3. Sol Katharsis
4. Tree of Life
5. Discipvli H. Trismegistvs
6. The Twelve Keys
7. Absolvito

Added: March 14th 2016
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1523
Language: english

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