While I typically like vinyl for the first listen of any album in its entirety, I couldn’t pass on the chance to experience Heavy Temple’s Lupi Amoris early. The album’s title is Latin for “Wolves of Love,” drawing some inspiration from Angela Carter’s story, The Company of Wolves. In the story, Carter flips the traditional literary cautions from Little Red Riding Hood around a young women’s desires to one in which she is sexually empowered. Like Carter, Heavy Temple is no stranger to flipping the script on what is expected.
From the first rip of “A Desert”, you’re ushered to a familiar psychedelic landscape with energetic riffs and an underlying heaviness signature to Heavy Temple. The ethereal transition to “The Wolf” presents a dynamic that is maintained throughout the album: an unexpected shift where High Priestess Nighthawk’s classical influences are on full display. The companion song to “The Wolf,” “The Maiden” (streaming now) enters abruptly but grabs you for the next surf over the sonic waves into “Isabella” and closing on my favorite track of the album, “The Howling.”
“The Howling” showcases the depth and range of Nighthawk’s writing. Opening with a Carpentereque synth piece sets a more sinister mood that is soon accompanied by a drum build. The hooky riff alongside the booming drums after the synths fade is reminiscent of Lateralus era Tool (if they hung out with Matt Pike more). The song doesn’t stay in the vein... but you’re just going to have to give it a listen to find out.
I strongly suspect that this album will make it into my Top 10ish albums of the year. It’s multidimensional, memorable, and I appreciate how much the songs breathe absent any singing at all. Maybe it’s the fact I spend hours per week listening to tv/film scores, but I appreciate albums that let the instrumentation drive some songs. While Nighthawk's vocals are powerful and convey a mood of their own, the instrumentation offers a sonic experience that words interfere with.
You can pre-order the album via Magnetic Eye Records: Click Here.
Be sure to check out my interview High Priestess Nighthawk Here.
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