Altarage – The Approaching Roar
Released: 25th January 2019
The comparisons between Australia’s Portal and Spain’s Altarage are as numerous as they are apt, but with the new offering on the Approaching Roar, those comparisons are not ones that follow side by side anymore. Where Portal obscure their wizardry and frenetic riffing in walls of noise, Altarage allow the listener to discern in moments of brief but shining clarity, what is going on behind the shroud.
Altrage have crafted a monolith; an ode to the obscuring darkness that dwells in the abyssal depths. Coming only a year after Endighent, I would have been hard pressed to admit I thought there would have been any progression. I would have been wrong. Widely wrong. The insanity of their music is claustrophobic as ever, yet… melody and groove hint at their own existence from deep within the noise.
‘Urn’ showcases the absolute bestiality of the bass lines in this album. Fuzzed out atmosphere drones over the top of an oozing, pulsating reverberation in the air before the accompanying instruments lay their muck over the top. However, the bass is still there, noticeably making its self known throughout, breaching through the black waters like an unknown leviathan. The vocals are one in the same; often getting lost within the auditory chaos but cresting the waves of the black ocean of static to assert their presence.
The guitars sound like chainsaws. There’s no way to go about it. ‘Inhabitant’ saws through your ears as easy as an industrial size log mill, cleaving your mind into thin little planks of meat that you could attempt to rebuild your shattered conscious. The selfsame song also features some of the most primal fucking drumming ever experienced. A resounding echo and thundering force push the drums to utter, despairingly persistent destruction. The basic act of listening to this song makes one feel like their chest will cave in at any moment.
Every song on the album is unique. Unlike their previous, Endighent, the songs have a distinct personality, yet are still dripping with the blood and muck of Altarage’s unrelenting fury and malaise. It’s a difficult thing to do yet this band has made it seem effortless, and all from within the recesses of their obsidian cloaks. ‘Chaworos Sephelin’ is an exercise in pushing up three seconds of isolated groove amidst a tornado of swirling knives and human organs. ‘Engineer’ is the purest offering of a slathering, lumbering beast of a riff, that degenerates into an explosion of rage and rending flesh. I could go on, but I won’t.
Altarage have carved out for themselves a place atop the pedestal reserved for other dissonant black/death bands; not halfway up either, they’re clearly at the top with the best. The Approaching Roar is a challenging, masochistic listen, but wading through the sludge of depression and offal feels worth it when the torture feels this good.
Altarage – The Approaching Roar tracklist
- Hieroglyphic Certainty
- Cyclopean Clash
- Chaworos Sephelin