"Garden of Heathens" (Magnetic Eye Records; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

There are band names that tell you nothing about the music you're about to listen to (The Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cinderella) and there band names that tell you exactly what you're about to listen to—like Heavy Temple.

Heavy Temple's "Garden of Heathens" is a heavy, head-banging slab of rock'n'roll that brings to mind bands like the legendary Black Sabbath and others of their ilk. The music is all heavy guitars, extended fiery solos, pounding bass, crushing drums and vocals that fall somewhere between Ozzy Osbourne and Ronnie James Dio (and there's a lot of hallowed ground between the two). Heavy Temple may be a bit more stoner/doomy and a little trippier than Sabbath but the similarities are there.

Interestingly, the title track is the strangest track, and the most different on the album. It's a three-and-a-half minute atmospheric piece whose main purpose seems to be a lead in for the penultimate track, "Jesus Wept" (one of my album favorites, a track with guitars that cut like daggers).

The album ends with the raging instrumental track, "Psychomanteum," that leaves the listener breathless and ready for more.

Fans of hard and heavy will find plenty to like on "Garden of Heathens."

For more information, check out https://linktr.ee/heavytemple.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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