Temple Of Void is an uncompromising collaboration from the depths of Detroit. Temple Of Void harkens back to the somber sound of early British doom, while channeling the energy and devastation of old school American death metal. Mastermind and guitarist of the band Alex Awn has got the answers about their third latest album “The World That Was”.
Alex welcome to SFTV. What is the latest news from the Temple Of Void camp? How did you spend your time during the pandemic and what do you see happening?
Hey there. Temple of Void is busy writing new music these days. We dropped “The World That Was” in March and ironically, the world we knew was no more. Shows came crashing to a halt. We’ve had to cancel any tours and fests we had, but we’ve capitalized on the downtime by working on new material. You won’t have to wait another three years for our follow up to this one. I can assure you that much. We’re energized by the response to “The World That Was” and chomping at the bit to write and record new songs and finally get back out on the road to support our album.
Which was the response for “The World That Was”? Have things gone as expected?
The response has been fantastic. Each time we drop an album we’re astounded by the response from the underground. This time has been no different. People are digging it. It’s definitely gotten the best immediate response of the three thus far. The bar has been raised once more.
We know who we are and what we’re all about. We will never write the same record twice, that’s for sure. So don’t expect album four to be the same as album three.Alex Awn
Let’s go to your origins and your main influences; when did you decide to start your own band and what were your main intentions, at least at first and when did you see the whole phase differently?
Detroit didn’t have any death-doom bands. It was a genre that Eric and I both loved and we believed we could bring something new to the table, at least from a Detroit perspective. So he brought Jason and Mike on board and brought on Brent. We started writing and the second song we composed was “Exanimate Gaze.” When we wrote that one I think we know “that was our sound.” That track set the template for what we would be known for and what would become our signature perspective and blend of death and doom. I don’t think the band has changed that perspective. We’ve broadened what we allow into our mix a little bit over the years. Our experimentations have always yielded positive results. But we’re very conscious not to lose sight of our core death metal and doom metal ingredients.
Tell us about the recording sessions; where did you record it and how did it go? Are you satisfied with it?
Mount Doom Studios in Detroit has been involved in every one of our recordings. We just keep improving on our sound. As the band improves, the studio improves, and we just bring one another along for the ride. We’re very happy with “The World That Was”. It’s not perfect, but what is? There are things that could be improved upon, but you gotta ship it at some point. It has to feel organic still. I’m particularly happy with our use of sound design and synth. The latter has always been a fixture on our albums, but we really nailed the mix and the contributions on this record. To me, that was the single biggest improvement from album to album.
Could you please develop a little bit on the main lyric-topics in your songs? Is there a concept behind “The World That Was”?
Mike is the sole lyricist so I can’t really talk too much about that. But the title is a loose allusion to the end times of the Warhammer mythos as it transitioned from the World that Was to the Age of Sigmar. However, the lyrics on the record are much broader than any one mythos. And the artwork brings together many other ideas and myths outside of Warhammer. We’re not Bolt Thrower and don’t pretend to be. But I can’t deny a Warhammer, high fantasy, and horror influence. Our earlier material was more lyrically focused on horror storytelling. But the new one tackle more introspective horror. There’s more metaphor and personal experience layered into our tales of terror and the supernatural.
On that record you’ve got some guests. How did you get them involved? And what was your choice based on?
Omar has provided synths on all three albums, but Meredith is new to us. I used to work with her and thought her cinematic approach to sound design would really enhance the atmosphere on the record. As I said earlier, I think Omar and Meredith’s contributions really set this record apart from any other death-doom bands. We treat the packaging and the music more like a film than a band. It’s a very three dimensional approach.
On “Leave The Light Behind” there’s a different approach than the rest of the album. Does this show a future direction musically for the band, do you like to experiment?
This was the one track I contributed synths to. I’m a fan of Hawkwind and krautrock in general, and I wanted some of that spacey synth for this track. I love the movement and depth it adds. I love modulation effects. We’ve been Katatonia fans since day one, and their influence has always been there. This track just brings that to the foreground a bit more, but it still retains the TOV identity. I wouldn’t consider it a future musical direction any more than “Graven Desires” from Lords of Death was. It’s just one of the sides of our personality shining through more brightly than at other times.
Enough bands after their second-third album change drastically their music direction. Why do you think is this happening?
I think this probably happens more with younger bands. When you’re younger you’re exploring more music (hopefully), and you might get bored with where you’re at, so it makes sense to experiment to avoid stagnation. But when you’re in your 40’s and you set out to do a band, you have a very different perspective. We set out to be the greatest deathdoom band on the planet and those aspirations haven’t changed. We know who we are and what we’re all about. We will never write the same record twice, that’s for sure. So don’t expect album four to be the same as album three. However, it should all still sound like Temple Of Void. And it should all still be deathdoom at its core.
Do people in States were going to see, in the pro-Covid19 era, the underground bands like you, not with “big names” only? What do you think will change after this will end?
I don’t know, man. The future is unwritten. We’ll figure it out and cross that bridge when we come to it. I’m sure we’ll be back to normal at some point in 2021. The show must go on.
Do you follow the metal scene? In your opinion, how much did it change? How is your local underground nowadays doing?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been to a local show in quite some time. COVID put a stop to all that. Detroit has a good amount of nationally recognized bands. From the most underground and cult to the biggest names in metal. It’s a great group of people here. The internet certainly changed metal, and obviously changed LIFE in a massive way. There are pro’s and con’s to the instantaneous and all-knowing access we have now. I can’t deny that I do look back fondly on the pre-internet days of getting into bands by reading zines and thanks-lists, etc. I prefer the slower pace of life that we had before the internet. I don’t like being “always on.” However, it’s afforded us and the metal scene incredible opportunities that we may not have had before. It’s all about walking the middle path.
Thanx for the interview and give an end.
Thank you for taking the time to compose these questions. I hope to see people in a live setting once more in 2021. Hopefully coming to a country near your readers soon.