Altar Of Betelgeuze - Among The Ruins review
|Band:||Altar Of Betelgeuze|
|Album:||Among The Ruins|
|Release date:||April 2017|
01. The Offering
02. Sledge Of Stones
03. No Return
04. New Dawn
05. Absence Of Light
06. Advocates Of Deception
07. Among The Ruins
There's a special feeling you get inside when you're anticipating the sophomore release of a quality band. You're obviously still following them because something about their breakout effort stuck with you. Maybe it floored you to the point that you're foaming at the mouth for the next chapter. Or perhaps you thought it was "just ok" but are still curious as to whether or not the band has gotten any better in the interim. Either way, you want more.
In case you missed it, back in 2014, the Finnish Altar Of Betelgeuze offered up the impressive Darkness Sustains The Silence, a heavy, enjoyable slab of groovy death doom. And the "more" that they deliver 3 years later with Among The Ruins only keeps that train a'rollin. When I first discovered the band, even before listening I had a feeling they were going to be a fun listen just from a promo pic I saw of them: four members, one sporting a Watain shirt, another a Sleep one, another repping Death, and the final guy rocking a King Diamond hoodie. Indeed, this is the sort of blend of influences that really seems to come out in the band's music. Some more so than others, but with this sophomore album you've got catchy riffs and beautiful clean vocals a la 90s stoner bands ("Sledge Of Stones," "No Return"), occasionally softer, more melodic breaks ("Absence Of Light," the title track), and subtle nods to extreme metal with some riffs occasionally played in more of a death metal style, and of course, growled vocals.
But those growled vocals though, damn. That's the one spot where the music of Altar Of Betelgeuze seems to falter. It's an issue I find with most "death doom" bands, not just these guys, this feeling that often with this sort of music you essentially get "doom metal with death growls slapped on top" as opposed to an actual, tight fusion of death and doom. These Finns' ability to craft bouncy, memorable as fuck stoner jamz is high, but as you're listening along to their tunes, grooving out, and those death growls pop up, for me at least they often feel totally out of place. Not just because they're moments of extremity amidst an otherwise more mellow listening experience, but also because they really don't go any further into a death metal area from there. So if you're looking for the music to pick up its intensity after those growls come in, you're kind of left hanging. In the future for AOB, it'd probably be a good idea to either ditch these vocals entirely and just focus on the crunchy stoner approach they do so well, or to increase the death metal presence in their music.
All that being said, Altar Of Betelgeuze have far more going for them with their music than they do things working against them. Among The Ruins, as well as its predecessor, is nothing short of a very good cut of death doom that could possibly use some tweaking, but that would still probably be pretty fun and enjoyable even without such tweaking. While perhaps not too high on the originality factor, AOB are a band that simply do what they do better than a lot of other bands in their department. It's what makes them stick out, it's what keeps me coming back, and it's what should keep make you check them out.
What "ruins" could they possible be referring to in the album title? Çatal Hüyük? Mohenjo-Daro? I'm thinking Babylon.
||Written on 08.04.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.|
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