Today is the Day – Temple of the Morning Star

dB HoF No. 148

Label: Relapse
Release date: September 23, 1997

The history of Today is the Day can probably be marked as BJF and AJF: Before Jerry Falwell and After. Almost four minutes into Temple of the Morning Star is when the infamous fundamentalist preacher says, “Right now I want the undivided attention of every God-fearing American citizen.” And that’s pretty much where Today Is the Day officially began their new brand of misery.

Steve Austin, the ruthless, southern-fried guitarist and frontman who’d already been responsible for a triumvirate of deranged, trailblazing noise rock albums, found himself in 1997 with a brand new lineup of drummer Mike Hyde and keyboardist Chris Reeser, a brand new relationship with Relapse Records and an unflagging determination to reshape extreme music in ways no one had ever considered.

Temple of the Morning Star is packed with so many audio samples, left-field effects, loop layering and abstract arrangements that it’s less like a collection of songs and more a stream of consciousness. Actually, with such abrupt shifts of sound and emotion, it’s an all-consuming nightmare: Voices reaching out from the abyss, melodies quickly turning sour, moments of joy being crushed underfoot.

And more than anything, this metal/noise/rock amalgam is the soundtrack to Austin’s near mental collapse; a man struggling against everything and everyone who had failed him and his desperate, howling battle to regain what was lost.

The Today Is the Day lineup on Temple of the Morning Star didn’t last long. Three tireless musicians found each other, pushed themselves to their physical and creative limits, and then parted ways. But even 20 years later, despite remaining a dense, entangled and draining experience, the album demands your undivided attention and has long deserved this spot in Decibel’s Hall of Fame.

– Shane Mehling

Got to get more Today is the Day? To read the entire seven-page story, with featurings interviews with all members on Temple of the Morning Star, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.