Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Universal Temple Of Divine Power Deliver A Sermon Of 70's Boogie Rock On Debut Album 'Hand Of God'

The Universal Temple Of Divine Power
Hand Of God
Self Released

Review by Nightwatcher

Granted the name of this Detroit 4 piece sounds more suited to members of some Jim Jones styled Kool-Aid drinking suicide cult, but this band from the Motor City worships at the altar of early 70's blues based rock. Think Humble Pie, Cactus, Mountain and Grand Funk Railroad mixed with high octane blues boogie and you might get an approximation of what to expect on the band's debut release 'Hand Of God'.

Formed in 2005, the Universal Temple of Divine Power consists of guitarist Chuck Burns of Speedball, Skeemin No Goods and Seduce fame, as well as former Kingsnakes, vocalist/guitarist Elliott Moses and drummer Chris Andrews. Bassist Art McCauley rounds out the band as the fourth member. Their mutual love of gospel, blues, soul and early 70's rock-n-roll shines through in their creation of authentic, powerful, Detroit-style rock.

The album starts off with "Move It On Over", the intro of which sounding like a early 70's Humble Pie track, with the riff recalling an inversion of "Stone Cold Fever". In fact, you'd be forgiven if you were to expect the whiskey soaked voice of the late Pie vocalist Steve Marriott to come booming out, He doesn't, but the vocals are impressive enough for this style rock courtesy of Elliott Moses. "Ride With The Devil" and "Shake Them Blues" continue the riff rock, while "The Man" heads off midway through into Robin Trowerland, replete with suspended chords and spacy extended soloing right out of 'Bridge Of Sighs'.

"Cold Like The Winter" goes south of the Mason/Dixon line, sounding not unlike Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken" on steroids. The instrumental "Bite The Apple" rocks along heavy, Allman Brothers style guitar harmonies lending variety to the proceedings. After two more impressive tracks, the Skynyrd -like "Big Britches" and "Get On Home" which transforms itself during its alloted time into almost an early Black Sabbath doomy sludge, with a groove not too far from Bill Ward's can bashing on "Children Of The Grave," it's down to the title track to leave a lasting impression. And it does. Featuring a bluesy gospel vibe mixed with high energy rock filled with molten guitar work, it's a fitting end to yet another of 2008's finest albums.

Like fellow musically minded Detroit brethren The Muggs, whose very own Danny Methric was kind enough to bring this band to my attention, the Universal Temple Of Divine Power have shown with this debut that good old fashioned sweaty rock is alive n kickin' in Detroit Rock City in 2008. While this probably has a snowball's chance in hell of hitting anywhere close to the charts, if you dig the blues and you love to rock, grab this one while you still have the chance.

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