Jools Green
The Abyss
2nd May 2019

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German Black/Doom entity Stellar Master Elite return with their latest offering and full length number four, 'Hologram Temple', and as before they continue to look "beyond the immediate and meditate on possible futures for humankind", considering questions about the converging point between man and machine, seeking inspiration from Philip K Dick's stories and theories about androids, Dick's visions that we are already living in a hologram, as well as experiments with artificial intelligences that get out of hand and become dangerous for their creators and their environment.

Stellar Master Elite comment: "'Hologram Temple' deals with the logical development of evolution and technology, and the resultant consequences for science and the theoretically possible and quite probable illusory nature of the reality known to us. Where does overcoming mortality lead us?

"With the help of neuronal interfaces we will be able, without the limitation of a mortal body, to overcome distances unimaginable today, to colonize distant planets and to save mankind from its already sealed downfall. The colonization of entire galaxies can also be considered 'a new galactic empire', unless life-forms that have already passed through this evolutionary development conquer us and our habitat long before we could have taken this step ourselves, in this case we are all lost and never had a chance."

'Hologram Temple' is a nine-track offering, spanning just over an hour of that trademark Stellar Master Elite melding of tight Black Metal riffing, fuzzy Doom guitar work alongside experimental 'cosmic' synthesisers, all capped off with the brutal and vitriolic growls; the result is decidedly otherworldly. You get a good range of vocals too as they are shared out across the release between MS, EK and SK.

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Across the tracks the pace varies, the slow to mid pace, with plodding drums and hypnotic repeating rhythms, like opener 'Null', punctuated with high keys and low synth undertones, also 'Freewheel Decrypted', a similar pace but darker than its predecessor, to the more up-tempo tracks like 'Black Hole Dementia' or the crushing 'The Beast We Have Created' with its blackened groove, still maintaining the with same style to the riffs and the sonic undertones, as well as 'The Secret Of Neverending Chaos' where crushing blackness is contrasted by hunting synths and soaring lead work.

Breaking the intensity and adding a different atmosphere, 'Ad Infinitum' varies from the other tracks, initially haunting psychedelic synths in the extended intro and with spoken lyrics, there are also equally haunting riffs but it's very much synth led and much more mournful when those riffs that expand the main body of the track kick in. 'Agitation, Consent, War' has a bleak, haunting desolate feel, also with spoken lyrics and the synth and drum dominated sound, this time suggesting carnage and mayhem, making it a powerful listen.

'Hologram Temple' boasts a couple of eight minute monsters but they are overshadowed when compared to the immensity of the fifteen minute closer, 'Tetragon', awash with eerie haunting psychedelic/industrial synths and repeat drum rhythms. The crushing riffs kick in briefly after three-and-a-half minutes, a beast of a closer which ebbs and flows like a violently destructive otherworldly tide; a heavily sonic, skilfully punctuated track.

1. Null
2. Freewheel Decrypted
3. Apocalypsis
4. Ad Infinitum
5. The Beast We Have Created
6. Agitation - Consent - War
7. Black Hole Dementia
8. The Secret Of Neverending Chaos
9. Tetragon

'Hologram Temple' is overall an immersive and rewarding listen and is available as a double 12" clear or black vinyl in 180g format and as a digipak CD and also digital download. Both physical publications receive a finishing by hotfoil embossing and are available from Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork website.



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