As the pandemic dominates lives worldwide, an awareness has been resurrected, an awareness almost lost in the vortex of every day live, taken for granted. I am talking about the awareness of globalisation. The world is interconnected, distance has become obsolete. Even tough globalisation has caused many problems, we can’t deny that it always has been a blessing for the Metal scene, you can even go as far as claiming that without it Metal and especially Epic Metal wouldn’t exist at all. Metal has always been international and always will be! Metal is for anyone and that’s why it makes me especially happy, even proud, to be able to review a record hailing from the United Arab Emirates, a country that only has 17 active Metal bands listed in the Metallum.
Tabernacle, the name is derived from Manilla Roads interlude on The Deluge “Morbid Tabernacle”, was formed in Dubai in 2019 and consists out of Rayner (Guitar and Vocals), Shawn (Drums) and Jasper (Bass and Lyrics). And the name directs the band’s musical approach! Inspired by legends like Omen, Warlord and of course Manilla Road, Tabernacle play pure Epic Heavy Metal with a raw and barbaric touch. This concept is also transmitted on the lyrics, with them covering epic stories set in antiquity. If you’re interested in finding out more about the band’s lyrics, past and future, as well as the Metal scene in Dubai, you should check out the interview Jeremy J. Swist, a dear friend of our blog, did with them on his blog Heavy Metal Classicist – it’s definitely worth reading!
Terror in Thrace, the demo this review is about, features three songs fairly equal in length, contributing to a running time of around 19 minutes. The label “demo” fits it quite well, as the sound is kept very raw with adolescent energy. Devoted to already mentioned legends Tabernacle chose to write very old school sounding mid-tempo songs with barely any experiments when it comes to this. Yet forced alternation isn’t necessary anyways: Every song features several catchy melodies and memorable riffs preventing all tracks from getting boring or repetitive. While “The Curse of Akkad” is marked by it’s intricate, slowly progressing structure, “Terror in Thrace” is much more straightforward with Warlordesque melodies. The final song “Sargon the Conqueror” shines due to its incentive riffing, nicely contrasting the atmospheric ending. All this works so well, as the vocals really fit the sound with Rayner’s dramatic singing, in which he then suddenly bursts out into barbaricly aggressive chants – I’d like to see more of this in future releases as it increases the immersion into the told story while causing exciting variation. Still one has to acknowledge that the vocals just as the rest of the sound are at an early stage, which should be to the liking of Epic Metal enthusiast but could deter people new to these waters.
Conclusion: Tabernacle are a very exciting newcomer and especially fans of Epic Heavy Metal should be aware of them. Since one can download the demo for free on their Bandcamp, every single one of you should check it out immediately. The demo perfectly incorporates its raw energy into the music, thus creating a true underground sound that we all know and love from bands like Manilla Road or Cirith Ungol. It’s nowhere near being a perfectly crafted high-polished record, yet that’s exactly what induces this coarse and epic charm. Besides that, they have proven to be perfectly capable of writing great melodies and lyrics, which together bring these stories to life. I’m really looking forward to future releases, as Tabernacle are full of potential. Even though this is a great first release, room for improvement is still visible. But that’s just what makes this promising band so exciting!