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Rating:
7.8
Altar Of Betelgeuze - Darkness Sustains The Silence
1 January 2014


01. Epitaph
02. A World Without End
03. The Spiral Of Decay
04. Steamroller
05. Smoldering Clouds Above Orion
06. The Approaching Storm
07. Out Of Control
08. Darkness Sustains The Silence


Songs 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8 written by Matias Nastolin. Tracks 1, 4 and 6 written by Olli "Otu" Suurmunne. All lyrics by Matias Nastolin.

Guitars, vocals and bass were recorded between March - May 2013 at a home studio. Drums were recorded and engineered by Ari Salonen at MD-studio, Helsinki (Finland) in July 2013.

Produced by Altar Of Betelgeuze. Mixing by Matias Nastolin and Juho Kareoja between July - August 2013. Assistant mixing by Olli "Otu" Suurmunne. Mastering by Javier Félez at Moontower Studios, Terrassa (Spain) in September 2013.

Artwork & Layout by César Valladares. Logo by Ciprian Frîncu.


Hailing from Finland, Finland, Finland, that country where I want to be… your metal so melodic, your landscape unthawed, we have Altar of Betelgeuze. AOB are one of those pentagram shaped pegs that refuse to be easily pounded into a round hole.

On their promo pic, the fiendish Finns are sporting gear dropping Watain, Sleep, Death, and King Diamond. At various points in this release they tread metal ground clearly influenced by each of these artists, though fortunately they leave the falsetto to King Diamond & He Man*

What I found most impressive is how dynamic they were. AOB is a riff factory. Stoney vibe riffs? We got 'em. Doom riff perfect for slow-mo headbanging? No problem. Some traditional metal to counter the slow pace? Sure. Want to be bitchslapped with something reminiscent of old Morbid Angel? Brace yourself!

Furthermore, the vocals are every bit as dynamic. They pull off excellent bestial cookie monster roars, spoken bits, and soulful clean vocals when tracks like "Steamroller" demand them.

Toss in some quiet, atmospheric moments, occasional leads, and some slinking bass lines and you've got a great package.

Most the songs seem to pivot between a style or two, enough so that they keep you engaged. The first seven tracks go by, blasting, pounding, dooming along for 40 minutes, without ever treading upon that "great album, but kinda wearing. Don't go "Return of the King" on us and end it before it drags."

Then they hit you with the haymaker. The album closer, "Darkness Sustains The Silence" isn't some wuss outro to go "full circle" opposite the intro. It's a 17 minute thesis encapsulating the best elements of what they've already done into one hell of a closing argument. Slow build-ups, tension, spoken vocals, growls, sung, double-times, it's all in there. (Including the aforementioned Azagthothian little riff, around the 7 minute mark.) Pretty awesome to closeout an already complete album with a quarter hour track that is perhaps the best of the disk/1's and 0's.

Not treading new ground, but they do a great job stomping all over some of my favorite grounds. If you find your tastes tend to synch up with mine, odds are you'll enjoy this one.





*All credit for the discovery of that He Diamond link goes to Promonex.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 7


 



Written on 28.01.2014 by
BitterCOld
BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.
More reviews by BitterCOld ››



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Nefarious - 28.01.2014 at 09:07  
Agree with these sentiments completely, there's a little bit of everything going on with this album & it works great. "Darkness Sustains The Silence" is a great closer, but "The Spiral Of Decay" & "Steamroller" were also stand-out tracks for me. I'm not sure what the longevity factor will be like for me so we'll have to see, but for now I see this album being at the top end of my 'best of 2014' list.
Zaphod - 28.01.2014 at 10:42  
This review just about says it all. Great album.
Monolithic - 28.01.2014 at 11:00  
Got me interested. I think I'm gonna like it.
Czerny Reiter - 28.01.2014 at 14:13  
I'm not much into Stoner, Doom or Trad.Heavy and yet I loved this to bits! These guys bring a really lean fusion of styles to the table.
BitterCOld - 28.01.2014 at 18:32  
Written by Nefarious on 28.01.2014 at 09:07

Agree with these sentiments completely, there's a little bit of everything going on with this album & it works great. "Darkness Sustains The Silence" is a great closer, but "The Spiral Of Decay" & "Steamroller" were also stand-out tracks for me. I'm not sure what the longevity factor will be like for me so we'll have to see, but for now I see this album being at the top end of my 'best of 2014' list.


Was tempted to make a string of jokes about "Steamroller" as "I'm a one-eyed battering ram/I'm a full-fledged steam roller" screams for phallic references, especially following up lines like "Gimme back the reins. Let me guide myself to the place where the Sun won't shine forever..."
Apothecary - 28.01.2014 at 19:47  
Really great album, probably my favorite of the year thus far after Hail Spirit Noir
BloodTears - 29.01.2014 at 11:28  
Definitely a good album. People should check it out.
M C Vice - 02.02.2014 at 10:13  
Good review, Mr. Palin.
tea[m]ster - 02.02.2014 at 18:07  
Might check this out because Beetlejuice is one of my favorite movies ever
Storm_Raven - 03.02.2014 at 22:31  
Written by BloodTears on 29.01.2014 at 11:28

Definitely a good album. People should check it out.


Exactly my thoughts when I was hearing it.
Migtanteot - 17.02.2014 at 19:32  
Spiral of Decay, what a memorable song.
psykometal - 18.03.2014 at 19:53  
Great album. Great review. Definitely glad I started following your reviews, have found several really good doom releases since.

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