Today Is The Day

Temple Of The Morning Star

Written by: PP on 16/11/2006 12:47:01

Relapse Records is a strange label. Their seemingly trial and error policy of releases never seizes to confuse me, as for every ten useless albums they throw out on a regular basis, one of them is a masterpiece like this reissue of Today Is The Day's classic 1997 album, the 17-track long "Temple Of The Morning Star", featuring the now legendary producer Steve Austin on vocals, who has produced seminal discs of bands like Lamb Of God, Bane, Converge and Deadguy.

Much of "Temple Of The Morning Star" is extremely unorthodox. Not only are the guitar time signatures strange to the ears, or the screeching shrieks of frontman Steve Austin concurrently repulsive and attractive at the same time, but the album itself starts with an acoustic rendition of the last track of the album, which to me is a first. The distortion-filled noise mess starts on track two with a spoken word introduction "Right now I want the undivided attention of every single American citizen". The statement is important as the off-tune leads and the faded guitar distortion combined with the maniac shrieks of Austin aren't the smallest of apples to eat. This is especially highlighted on "Miracle", a track filled with noisy high pitch guitars squeaking higher and higher as the song progresses, until they approach a point of severe ear-irritation, making me glad I haven't witnessed this live. "Kill Yourself" is another frightening piece with Austin sounding like a self-made vampire straight from an 80s horror flick, and the instrumentals following what are quite possibly the most unorthodox, most uncommon patterns you'll come to hear on a record.

The only real setback of the album is the (lack of) production. While the lo-fi feel adds a razorsharp edge to the sound, it also removes a lot of the clarity and coherence from the record. This is ultimately a preference question though, as imagining hi-fi renditions of the songs is difficult and could quite possibly remove their appeal for some. Especially "Mankind" would face this problem, as it stretches the upper limits of odd melody and any additional production would likely destroy the unearthly appeal its sonically explosive guitars have. But perhaps this low production has been done on purpose to preserve the album's intensity levels (see the brilliant "Root Of All Evil" as an example).

Even though the recent years have seen heavy debate on whether or not re-issues are just cash grabs and are only release to benefit the label, I do not think this is the case here. Re-releasing an out of print classic is never wrong, especially when thinking that though Today Is The Day influenced countless modern bands, they never made it out of the underground in their prime time. But on the other hand, today "Temple Of The Morning Star"'s pitch black darkness sounds awfully outdated nine years after its release.

Download: Root Of All Evil, Mankind, Miracle
For the fans of: Converge, Botch, Unearthly Trance, Faith No More
Listen: 14 MP3s @ Official Website

Release date 23.10.2006
Provided by Target ApS

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