Review: Black Tempel Pyrämid ‘Ancient Hymns & Incantations’

My first reaction was excitement that Kesh Temple Hymn might refer to the amazing work Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin, which of course led to its own musical recordings. However, the other signifiers in the song titles didn’t immediately mean much to me and by the power of the internet, I quickly discovered that the hymn in question is in fact an ancient Sumerian text. Indeed, Black Tempel Pyrämid (alias Patrick R. Pärk) instructs us that the purpose of this recording is to put us in contact with ‘ancient alien civilisations’. As ever I’m caught in two minds as to how serious to take this sort of mythologising, but let’s go along with the ride and see what happens…

Black Tempel Pyrämid ‘Ancient Hymns & Incantations’

The first musical statement is a murky bit of industrial dooming, dirge of distorted bass and clanking percussion buried in many muddy layers of noise. Undoubtedly ritualised, but unclear in its purpose, this piece opens into a brighter movement in Excerpt From An Exorcism that introduces a tension between the tonality and instrumentation, reminiscent of Darsombra in its elemental strangeness and intent.

We have a slightly rude reminder of the DIY nature of the project in some unevenness in the sound as the melodic line carries through into Liturgy To Nintud. Once the cut is overcome however, we can settle into some serious shuddering-shimmering in the layers of sound. The whole is underpinned with a ground hum like the ostinato of a ritual chant, or the great horns of some temple which will sound for a hundred days. Interestingly this is also part of the pervasive industrial flavour, which sits in counterpoint to the primitivist impulses apparent in the presentation.

industrial dooming, dirge of distorted bass and clanking percussion buried in many muddy layers of noise…

Black Tempel Pyrämid suggest that the ‘fever dream’ of the opening will clear, and perhaps that’s where we are with the start of Side B of the cassette, in Myth Of Cattle And Grain, its mournful feel giving us indeed some respite from the creeping overwhelm. This peace is swallowed by retro alien technology in Anu, which brings triggered drums and squawking synth to emulate the soundtrack to some classic video game.

Set against the natural feel and movement of Lament For Ur, this sounds clumsily mannered, and like a bit of a mis-step in the journey. Ekur closes the side, with a return to the weighted quasi-doom that we heard in the first few minutes of the journey. As an aficionado of the slow-and-heavy, it doesn’t sound quite right to me, but maybe again, this is doom as made by an ancient future alien industry, and the alienation is part of the game.

Label: Ethereal Mother Tapes
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Harry Holmes