DATE: Saturday 25th January 2020
VENUE: Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, UK
Review & Photography by Mark Holmes
With Rise Above Records releasing their debut album just last year (following an initial self-release of 666 copies), Los Angeles’ Twin Temple have impressively amassed a seemingly large following within a relatively short period of time. Some clever marketing and publicity at play? Undoubtedly, to help spread the word. But calling your album, ‘Bring You Their Signature Sound… Satanic Doo-Wop’, with the concomitant subtitle, ‘The First Album by the Wickedest Band in the World’ is an indubitable attention grabber that sets the juices of intrigue flowing. And a cover photo of a blood-soaked, naked woman wearing a Baphomet mask and red/black cloak, which brings to mind imagery from a 70s Jesús Franco or Jean Rollin movie, would also have helped. But, at the crux of Twin Temple’s success is sincerity in terms of both their creativity and intent. Their mono-mixed, warmly analogue sounding album that has a sonic aesthetic inspired by late-50s, early 60s rock ’n’ roll at its core is a profoundly authentic take on an era of music they’re axiomatically passionate about. And their songs are imbued with Satanic ideology and themes that are true to their own philosophical worldviews and beliefs, for it’s Alexandra and Zachary James who are the duo that formed the band, and are practicing Satanists. Twin Temple, beyond the entertainment value it offers, is an extension and reflection of their actual lives.
So, with just one previous UK date under their belts, 2020 has seen Twin Temple return to these shores for a run of shows and, on Saturday 25th January, the band and their unholy congregation gather in the Rescue Rooms. Alexandra and Zachary are accompanied by a keys guy, drummer, saxophonist and bassist, all highly skilled musicians, to deliver their songs, which are interposed with Satanic sermons and rituals. And the songs, sermons and rituals are all characterised with a positive, emancipatory and anti-oppressive essence to endorse and embolden the free-thinking individualism that resides at the heart of contemporary Satanism. And emancipatory vibes can be felt around the room, which become personal for one girl, called Chelsea, who’s invited up onto the stage mid-set, to be “initiated”. Blind-folded and with her hands bound, her binds are symbolically removed in a liberating, anti-oppressive ritual, to end guilt, shame and patriarchy.
As of the songs and music, everything sounds amazing, and with a perfect mix through the PA. Alexandra is a naturally gifted performer, both in voice and stage presence, as she confidently strides around while singing with a captivating passion. It’s easy to see why she’s been previously referred to as a “Satanic Amy Winehouse”, as, beyond her Winehouse-esque hairdo, she has a powerful and authentically soulful voice, with a seductive timbre. ‘Lucifer, My Love’, a heartfelt love letter to the devil, is a particular highlight… but, to be honest, everything sounds devilishly glorious in the Rescue Rooms this evening.
‘In Nox’, provides a controlled climactic cacophony; a jazzily jammed instrumental piece that serves to simultaneously disorientate and captivate. Alexandra drinks from a blood-filled goblet, with the red stuff running down her face; a face that now resembles one of vampiric nourishment. Zachary and herself reach out to the audience, literally, drawing symbols on people’s foreheads with said blood. They embrace and passionately kiss at the back of the stage, by their makeshift altar, to which people cheer loudly en masse. And then, an hour after they appeared, horns are thrown up into the air, on the stage and on the floor, and it’s all over. All too quickly, it seems, but it’s been an hour of entertaining music, alluring spectacle and, most importantly, a ton of positive messages about tolerance, respect, free-will, equality, anti-prejudice, anti-oppression, individualism, etc. Twin Temple are like cathartic philanthropists. If this is what Satanism is all about, then count me in.
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
Twin Temple at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, UK, 25th January 2020
Photograph copyright © 2020 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com