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'Temple Of The Leaf' is the first self-financed 4 track EP from THE UNHOLY ASSASSINS, a promising new U.S. band who primarily follow in the footsteps of Saint Vitus and early Electric Wizard. In concrete terms, this means that they have a purist approach to doom with simple yet effective riffs. That does not sound particularly sensational, but they strive to develop an own musical profile with the help of a crusty thick guitar tone and a mysterious vocal style that is deeply buried into the mix. In the beginning I was initially sceptical on this point, but, as time goes by, I realise that this is a very cool and individual idea. You can hardly understand one single word, but I suppose that the lyrics does not have an important role in the dark world of THE UNHOLY ASSASSAINS. In addition, the vocals of bassist Warlock Graff have been treated with further effects so that his voice evokes associations of an ancient forest ghost.

'Temple of the Leaf' contains primarily mid-tempo tracks that have been reduced to a minimum. THE UNHOLY ASSASSINS work completely without guitar solos while the spartanic arrangements underline the purist aesthetic of their heavy sound. They put a strong emphasis on riff repetition that has a very relaxing effect, but this is also due to the voluminous guitar sound of Salem Santiago. He (or is it a girl?) produces a thick and crunchy distorted guitar sound, whereas the riffs are simultaneously riddled with sludge and death metal influences. Certainly a little more variety would be most desirable, especially when the band plans to record an album. However, due to the playing time of approximately 20 minutes, it does not bother me here that THE UNHOLY ASSASSINS confine themselves to what is necessary in their doom. 'Temple of the Leaf' indicates that there exists a considerable potential for further action.