Monday, July 4, 2011

ALTAR OF PLAGUES - Mammal CD review

Candlelight Records
Genre: Post Black Metal
Rating: 3/5

A few years ago this whole avant-garde, or if you prefer, post black metal thing was not a bad addition to the canon of darkness. Yes of course you had hateful naysayers and that was to be expected. Mixing SONIC YOUTH with BURZUM will get some people's sacred black robes all knotted up. On a whole most of it was boring crap created by indie rock losers who previously thought black metal was a racist reference to Phil Lynott of THIN LIZZY or that rapper who did that pathetic metal joke at Lollaforlosers. Although there were a few acts that actually kept things in the black and were not a bunch of college radio eunuchs. This Irish band was one of them plus there were a few others. Unfortunately for all of the acts I thought were good then have now released total human garbage fitting only for indie rockers who are worthy of fake, soulless trash. In 2009 this band came out with their full length debut White Tomb (after putting out two interesting EPs which got people's attention) which I along with other credible music media scribes considered pretty damm good. Last year they released Tides a two song EP which was a complete shit. The damm thing sounded like thrown away ideas from their debut jammed out to the point where only the indie rock losers (aka: tools), who by then had infiltrated much of the metal media, thought it was good.

So when I saw this was on the table to be reviewed my thoughts went back to that last FEN release which still pisses me off. I had to blow off steam after writing the review of it by going out a few nights later, finding a musician in a local indie rock band and breaking four of his fingers. Let me tell you something, that really felt great but I braced myself when I pushed the play button with this one. Well after the first play I can honestly say that ALTAR OF PLAGUES has done a good job with this their second full length. Obviously it's no White Tomb but the band has came close to repeating their mastery of bleak and misery laidened post black metal brilliance. The key to enjoying Mammal is to get comfortable, push play and become depressed or fall asleep, which ever happens first. Whatever the case Mammal is definitely a release to listen to horizontally. There's not enough harsh vocals or tremolo picked riffs to get you all excited. Mammal simply relies on the structure of "lets play loud then lets quiet things down a bit then lets get loud again". In other words they play with the highs and lows on a metered scale which delivers a dissonant ambiance over it's fifty some minutes of play time. And this is just four songs.

Of course not everything about Mammal is so trance inducing. While the opener "Neptune Is Dead" has a good momentum which keeps the eyelids open and "Feather and Bone" has a slight militant industrial feel in parts of it. "When The Sun Drowns In The Ocean" was a complete waste of eight minutes. Were as "All Life Converges to Some Centre" brings you back from the lifeless husk the previous cut turned you into. Although the song takes you onto that dissonent plain early on AOP breaks through the haze every once in a while like a dephibulator on your conscieness. There's another slight draw back to Mammal and that's the production which just sounds hazy but not in some pathetic wanna be psychedelic drone type of way. White Tomb sounded crisp but this sounds cheap. The only thing left to say is that I hope every indie rock loser who listens to this slits their wrists afterwards. For the rest of us well there's still hope for this avant-garde shtick. Besides you can you can't fall asleep to MAYHEM.



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