Dyspläcer’s ‘Temple Heights’ is a heavy metal throwback 

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With its debut “Temple Heights,” released on April 20, the band Dyspläcer gives listeners a mashup they didn’t know they needed: kung fu heavy metal.

After a cinematic intro ushers us into the world of this bizarre concept album, “Lightning Fury Fist” pulls no punches with Dyspläcer’s throwback sound. We’ve been whisked away to the late ’70s in a whirlwind of harmonizing electric guitars, pummeling double bass drums, and the kind of melodic power vocals that would make Bruce Dickinson proud.

The album’s first single, “Black Widow,” immediately follows, but lacks the frenetic energy and explosive tempo that made “Lightning Fury Fist” such a retro revelation. In sharp contrast, the second single, “Kuma Kaiju,” features brilliant guitarwork, spot-on vocals, and just enough thrash metal to give the song an edge.

The title track is loaded with all of the heavy metal pyrotechnics possible in eight minutes. Dyspläcer is dripping with so much sonic excess, it draws comparisons it may not have anticipated and probably doesn’t want. But I can’t listen to the vocals on “Bloodsport” without hearing a bit of Steve Perry wailing away on Journey’s “Wheel in the Sky.”

That said, the influence of iconic British metal band Iron Maiden is front-and-center, and couldn’t possibly be overstated. Dyspläcer’s members might have instantly relegated themselves to self-parody, but they wisely chose to take the music seriously, and not themselves.

The music is a delightful throwback, barreling its way to our eardrums from out of nowhere. Everything about “Temple Heights” is over-the-top and indulgent, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dyspläcer plays its CD release show for "Temple Heights," along with the band Wicked, at Photo City Music Hall on Thursday, April 20.  The 18-and-over show is $14. Doors open at 7;30 p.m. Music starts at 8 p.m.  Go to the event page for more info and tickets.

Daniel J. Kushner is an arts writer at CITY. He can be reached at [email protected].
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