Terra Builder – Solar Temple (Transcending Obscurity)

Friday, 22nd September 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

Who doesn’t love unfiltered aural onslaughts that overwhelm and leave complete annihilation in their wake? Swifties, perhaps? Pay no mind to that nonsense; what we have here may make their eardrums collapse like a dying star during a supernova. Introducing Terra Builder, a new death/grind project that draws from a plethora of influences – from the imposing and brutish side of death metal, to the passionate belligerence of grind, wrapped in a cold celestial aura that is the proverbial icing on a very dense cake that is the inaugural album Solar Temple.

The lineup includes the guitar and growly vocal talents of Tobias Buck, guitarist of the hyper heavy melodic death metal act Neaera (a band near to this scribe’s heart), and the stellar atmospheric black metal project Our Loss is Total, which debuted at the tail end of 2022 with a wonderful release. Whatever this gentleman has touched has turned into audio gold, and Terra Builder is definitely another standout accomplishment. Buck isn’t alone in this endeavor, with the vocal accompaniments of Rene Wichmann, who along with Buck can be heard with I the Unlord, guitarist Ben Guddorf (ex-Steel Death), bassist Lutz Lambert (ex-Neorite), and drummer Yannick Bussweiler (Ferndal).

Violence commences immediately via “End of Orbit” and its stomping explosion of grueling guitars and gigantic snarling vocalizations that dial up the intensity with haste. “Interplanetary Portal” and “Constant Cosmic Failure” emit black metal tremolos mixed with a prominently grind stylized wall of sound to keep the ship throttling forward. The hardest hitting and riffiest entry is without a doubt “Abyss,” exemplified by memorable frenzied drums driving the buildup, melded with pinpoint precision courtesy of nasty dual guitar work that’s technical as it is bombastic.

Chugging guitars propel the title track’s vehement onslaught, made even more vile by seething vocals that one can visualize the Altarage inspired venom protruding forth in what’s one of the more menacing pieces on album. Techy lead work dominates songs such as “Dead Celestial,” while Aeviterne-like suffocating dissonance bring out Terra Builder’s dismal side within “Carbon Based Misery” and the hopelessness that is closer “Cryogenic Sleep.” There’s a surprising amount of variance throughout Solar Temple, and the album is enhanced by the band’s attention to the more miniscule details. The production also levels up the record, putting forth a modern yet intensely organic sound profile that fits Terra Builder’s otherworldly aura.

Terra Builder tears the listener to shreds countless times over within a tight under 33 minute package. The chilling quote “In space no one can hear you scream” from sci-fi classic Alien comes to mind, aptly describing the cold cosmic shredding that Terra Builder unfurls upon our helpless senses. Solar Temple is a thrilling example of perilous carnage, amounting to one of this year’s most calculated and thoroughly crushing releases.

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