404 B.C.


Some of the best metal that exists today combined both ends of the Metal spectrum; […]
By Daniel Fox
December 5, 2013
Temnein - 404 B.C. album cover

Some of the best metal that exists today combined both ends of the Metal spectrum; brutality and technicality, with intelligent and progressive arrangements: in that, we have bands like MESHUGGAH and GOJIRA. A relatively new French band, TEMNEIN, combines brutal, yet Melodic Death Metal, with progressive metal found in DREAM THEATRE and OPETH, and let me tell you, the outcome is outstanding.

The thoroughly melodic intro belies what is to come, "Self Division". The entirety of this song is a work of art, and upon listening to it, wasn't sure I would be able to find a better song on the album. When it is not brutally choking our ear-drums with tidal waves of blast-beats, the masterful riffage throughout this song are near-virtuosic. In fact, the opening riff comes close to being one of the greatest extreme metal moments I've ever heard. Following the intricate solo, the majority of the song would have left my head hanging by a membrane; the way the guitars, bass and drums are mixed, makes any double-kicked passage feel like a bull-dozer. "Tangled" leans closer towards melodic death metal, much like SOILWORK and IN FLAMES, but with a more obvious emphasis on technicality like AT THE GATES. The gallops and strangled melodies do not cover up what is an inherent, underlying groove running through this track, and sounds like what would be an archetypal album single. I'm even noticing a few motifs seemingly borrowed from ARCH ENEMY's Johan-era albums, especially "Burning Bridges".

Exactly what I was hoping for was a 10 minute + epic in the form of the lengthy "Bright Knife". Being over 13 minutes long, not one musical passage is the same. It begins with an extremely progressive-sounding intro which continues to evolve and evolve into a hypnotic, Thrash-like riff. Amidst this song are intriguing bass sections that cut through the percussion-heavy mix, and some breakdowns that are likely to cause internal bleeding. Churning through this one song was a wicked ride, as I was constantly being met with new, intriguing and surprising riffs that work to totally revamp the sound of the song. I feel as if this track is the greatest expression of their music, and also of themselves, that the band could have recorded. "Thirty Tyrants" closes this epic album, and shows even more progressive and diverse arrangements than most of the previous songs. Much of the song is an impressive force of melodic and Progressive Death Metal, but I was completely shocked by a slow, easy-listening interlude, similar to something found on IHSAHN's work, with some tender and well-done (and never heard before) clean vocals; possibly a nod towards OPETH. Alas, soon enough, we are dragged back into a hurricane of death riffage.

TEMNEIN is a great example of a relatively underground band that is quite simply better (at least, in my opinion) that bigger names in the various Metal music scenes; the arrangement and mixing is everything I could ask for in an album of this caliber.

10 / 10


"404 B.C." Track-listing:

1. Slave - Master
2. Self Division
3. Tangled
4. Heart Hooks
5. Dropping Light
6. Bright Knife
7. The Realists
8. Final Encounter
9. Thirty Tyrants

Temnein Lineup:

Florian - Guitars
Julien - Bass
Valentin - Drums
James - Guitars
Yoann 'Sub' - Vocals

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