Heavy Temple have been quietly putting out quality doom for a few years now. Their latest four-track EP, Chassit, hearkens back to the 1970s, back when Black Sabbath were making waves with their incredible use of the blues scale played to a darker tone. Chassit features a lot of the same ingredients, but High Priestess NightHawk’s vocals have the tendency to wail more than Ozzy’s. Like Sabbath, Chassit is full of fuzzy, brilliantly dirty blues riffs, and it never gets too complicated. It’s easy to get along with and hugely enjoyable.
Outside of the opening track ‘Key and Bone’, a song that is far too slow to begin, Chassit’s four tracks never feel too long, even ‘Pink Glass’ which weighs in at a fairly whopping 8:41. Indeed, ‘Pink Glass’ is the best on the record, with one of the best riffs I’ve heard in a while chugging along over the chorus. Despite the darkness of the doom sound, Chassit remains a fun, enjoyable record thanks to the excellent riffs throughout. Each track is built on a classic-sounding heavy blues riff. It’s simple stuff, but when executed as well as it is here, this kind of music is great fun.
Some may find that the balance of music to singing to be a tad disappointing however. High Priestess NightHawk’s vocals are excellent. At times you’ll be wishing that more attention was paid to this element of the band’s sound. This is felt the strongest in the brilliantly titled ‘In the Court of the Bastard King’. The music is great, the riff is good fun, and it all flows well, but there are long stretches of the track without NightHawk’s cracking vocals. Their absence lets the music do the talking – and it’s quite the linguist – but there is always the feeling that more vocals could have been employed to further round out the record, because they are just as good as the music behind them.
Chassit feels like a throwback record, not bothered with all this screaming, breakdowns or blast-beats malarkey. It’s slow, fuzzy and dark. Heavy Temple sound like they have been plucked from the 1970s, and this comes with all the good, and unfortunately all of the bad. I really enjoyed the record’s fuzzy sound, but the mixing leans a little too heavily on the bass. Even turned up loud the album sounds too muffled, and too low on overall clarity.
The fun dirty riffs are a great complement to High Priestess NightHawk’s fantastic vocals. Sludgy, slow and dirty; this is a record for fans of classic sounding doom. It’s slow to start, but the dark sounds of Chassit will stick in your mind long after the album ends.. I cannot really fault Heavy Temple’s Chassit: it’s really rather good.