Today is the Day’s 1997 Relapse LP, Temple of the Morning Star, has been given a deluxe reissue via New York label, The End Records, remastered by Maor Appelbaum (Faith No More, Dokken, Fates Warning, Sepultura) and packed with oddities. Now a double LP, it includes a second disc with demos, as well as a live performance at L.A.’s Whisky A-Go-Go from that timeframe. The live tracks were previously released as a live DVD via SuperNova in 2008, and that audio’s also been remastered. It all sounds amazing, and the ability to hear four of the album’s songs in nascent form, and six in live performance, allows the listener to really get a fully-rounded idea of where the band could go with their music.
Like fellow pigeonhole-defying metal acts Converge or Thou, Today is the Day manages to create music which not only pummels the listener, but hits some sort of lyrical catharsis. The songs are almost nihilist in nature: opening and closing cut, “Temple of the Morning Star,” features the lines, “I am slowly dying/I can’t be what you want me to be/I am dead,” which fairly well sums up vocalist and lyricist Steve Austin’s wordview.
The weird samples which anchor the album are still as disorienting as ever. Transitioning from the acoustic drone of “Temple of the Morning Star” into Waylon Jennings doing “Good-Hearted Woman” into screaming into “The Man Who Loves to Hurt Himself” is a frightening start to the album, and it only gets stranger from there.
“Miracle” is still probably my favorite of the album’s tracks. Its short, lurching duration seems to sum up everything about Today is the Day in a couple of minutes: shifting, swirling anger that nicely offsets the storming doom of epic cuts like “Hermaphrodite.” That track itself ties in nicely to the “hidden” cover of Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” further extending the record’s connective tissue.
You can crank this as loud as you’d like — and that’s a very necessary suggestion — and you’ll hear nary a hint of distortion. No cracks, hiss, or pops: this pressing is absolutely aces.
A fantastic gatefold sleeve on this reissue really grabs the eye, although “Miracle Demo” is misspelled as “Mircale Demo” on the back cover, which is a shame. Typos on album art always lend a certain sadness. It’s like they went through a lot of trouble to make this reissue special, then hacked it because someone failed to put a second set of eyes on the text. When you buy the album online, it comes with a download, although one’s not included with the physical product itself. The liner notes are a solid, little glossy pamphlet with lyrics and production credits. It’s illustrated with some era-appropriate photos, and flipping through it as you spin the wax really sets the time period.
Temple of the Morning Star is available from The End Records.