Taste the “Temptation Steel Scourge” of Tempter’s Sacrament (Early EP Stream + Interview)
Pre-downtuned ‘80s style death metal primitivism is a special field of underground warfare that will never be properly in fashion. It’s too antithetical to what the average metal fan wants; not pleasing enough to the ear, never commercial for a second, and too damn raw. As much as a certain brand of death freak worships The Magus or Abominations of Desolation, they don’t pop up in essentials lists from more mainstream magazines and there’s always a limited amount of bands doing what those bands did.
Enter Tempter’s Sacrament, a blazing new band from the New Jersey evil metal conglomerate NVNM (Nihil Verum Nisi Mors). Fast, dirty, and full of high-pitched death metal devastation, their new EP Temptation Steel Scourge proves that the best of the ‘80s era of early death metal can still be reinvented and rediscovered without any loss of power even now. Passionate, putrid vocals howl over screaming riffs and organic nuclear drums to do Sarcófago proud, all topped off with a whirlwind cover of Morbid Angel’s “Unholy Blasphemies.”
Check out the exclusive Invisible Oranges premiere of the new EP alongside an interview with the band’s full duo of Hades Tempter and Infernal Deceiver below.
Tempter’s Sacrament is focused on the most primordial era of death metal, from a time when the genre had not yet been codified yet. What draws you to this primitivism?
Hades Tempter: Our approach is riff-driven first, and the key sources of inspiration include Morbid Angel, Bathory, Vomitor, Sodom, Sarcofago, Absu, and Sabbat (the UK one). We aren't necessarily primitive by design, but once the riffs are in place the rest flows together naturally with the appropriate amount of aggression and satanic revelry to achieve our sound. Those first two Sabbat albums in particular are a massive influence on the riffs on this recording and the ones being worked on for the album.
Infernal Deceiver: I just love music created by total maniacs possessed by evil metal. There’s some extra special black magic to those bands who didn’t really know what they were doing or what they were inventing. Listening to it with a more modern ear gives you a chance to reinterpret familiar forms from the ground up, which presents opportunities to make something new and different from old influences by exploring nuance rather than trying to break new ground.
What sort of nuance do you feel you guys were able to dig into with these old influences on this particular release, since Infernal Deceiver mentions it? What differentiates Temptation Steel Scourge from another band that revives the same evil maniac metal?
ID: There are a lot of different ways you could pick it apart. Death metal by way of extreme thrash and evil heavy metal, I guess? It’s the sum of many parts. Perhaps it’s best to let the music speak for itself.
For decades between the '80s and now there was relatively little going on in the death metal scene with this sound (the occasional Vomitor album aside), but in the last ten years this niche has enjoyed something of a resurgence. Did that increased interest in pre-downtuned death metal play at all into the formation of Tempter’s Sacrament?
HT: Not particularly - as mentioned above Vomitor is a big source of inspiration, but I kinda just had my guitar a half step down when I started writing and it stuck. Good riffs are heavy no matter what tuning you play 'em in.
ID: Agreed. Tuning just needs to work for what the band is trying to do. I can’t imagine Tempter’s being tuned any lower than where it is, although I’m sure HT could make it work if necessary.
Was there any special point where your love for this sort of music became necessary to carry into a new band? What made the timing right for Tempter’s Sacrament?
HT: From a timing perspective, it might have happened sooner if I actually got out more often, but once we kicked it off it was a quick alignment of the most cruel of stars. Some of these riffs had been brewing for a while before I was asked to join DEEP SPACE SORCERER on bass for a gig in early 2020, which is how I met INFERNAL DECEIVER (who was on the drums). We spent much of the gig discussing our love for the DEATH metal of old, and that kind of sealed it. We actually only got together to work through stuff once before the pandemic hit, but that forced solitude proved to be a rich opportunity to get this off the ground, thanks in no small part to the high level of skill ID brings on both the drums and as a producer. We got the NVNM promo completely written and recorded remotely, having only ever jammed one of those songs once in the same room.
ID: It was a weird time to start a band, but we made it happen. It was a lot of sending shit back and forth. HT recorded his guitars and vocals in a remote cabin. I recorded the drums at an old church sanctuary, and mixed it all at home. It remains one of my favorite recordings I’ve done, if nothing else because of the strange way in which it came to be.
Invictus Productions has become a champion of primordial death metal in recent years with bands like Ascended Dead, Malicious, Omegavortex, and others. Were they in mind from the start of the project as a potential home for your music? Is it important to be on a roster that’s very aligned with you musically, or is getting the music out all that matters at the end of it day?
HT: We were very excited when we found out Invictus wanted to do this release and it does feel like a natural fit. The number of killer records Darragh has put out over the years is kind of staggering - Spearhead, Gospel of the fucking HORNS, Allfather - some of my absolute favorites over the years have come out on his label, not to mention all the wild shit like Omegavortex of the past year alone.
ID: I don’t think I’ve ever started a project with a specific label in mind. I just want to make what I want in a way I think is appropriate. I respect Invictus because I think they operate the same way, and think they’re a natural fit because of it. Darragh knows what he wants to do, and every Invictus release makes sense as an Invictus release because of it. I’m quite pleased that a band I am a part of has made the cut.
Is it inspirational for future stuff to have the backing of such a stalwart label, or at the end of the day is it just worth some cool-factor and nothing else?
ID: It’s inspirational in a way. Knowing someone likes your band enough to put some time and resources into it adds fuel to the fire to make it good and get it done. At the end of the day I’ll still be making music whether a label is involved or not, but having support for what you create definitely helps. I don’t really care about cool factor, but the esteem that can come with certain associations can be valuable as well. It depends on what you want to do and how you want to get there, just like anything else.
Out of the bevy of killer early Morbid Angel tunes to cover, what drew you guys to “Unholy Blasphemies?” Are there any other early death metal tracks you’d like to give the Tempter’s Sacrament treatment?
HT: I really wanted to do a MA cover, but one that perhaps had some room left for our approach. "Rapture" or "Sworn To The Black" or "Chapel Of Ghouls" - what could we possibly add to songs like these that they hadn’t already fucking nailed? Plus I’ve always liked an aggressive choice for a cover to leave you fuming when the record or whatever is finished.
ID: Morbid Angel was a natural choice for us. Our shared interest in the band was probably what got us to start talking about forming Tempter’s Sacrament in the first place. Abominations of Desolation and Blessed Are the Sick are both favorites of ours, and “Unholy Blasphemies” happens to be featured on both. As for another cover...who knows? I’m sure that when the time comes the right song will be immediately apparent.
What draws you to doing covers in the first place? Is the plan to try and do them going forward, or just to play it by ear? To Hades Tempter specifically- what are some closing covers other bands have done that you’ve loved?
HT: there are definitely other covers we’ve discussed - probably not for the album but I can think of plenty of other excuses to record a cover and stash it for a future EP or something. This is maybe not a proper closer, but that Angelcorpse cover of Sarcofago’s Desecration of Virgin on their side of the split with Martire is exactly what I want in a cover - a band adding their own brand of technical aggression to a classic that just seethes with speed and power.
ID: To pay tribute, to show your influences, and most important of all because it’s usually a song that kicks ass and is a lot of fun to play. I, personally, prefer to play it by ear when it comes to stuff like that.
Temptation Steel Scourge releases October 1st via Invictus Productions.