Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Altar Of Oblivion - Salvation

Doom metal is not something I often encounter, but when there's some good doom around, you can bet I'll be up for chunks of it. The last doom record that I found absolutely pummeling and earth shaking was Anguish's ''Through The Archdemon's Head'', a tantalizing brutalizer of a stomping monolith of an album, and it was dark, intense, intricate and massive, bestirred masterfully, and although these Danish doomers make their doom quite hefty and powerful, it still tends to differ with the huge traditional heavy metal influence lingering about. I'm mentioning Anguish because I found them incredibly effective but these two releases aren't necessarily parallel to each other. Anguish is dark and cryptic while Altar is much more epic and melancholic for that sense, and Altar manages to perfect the ponderous chugs while keeping the speed at a moving mid paced level, but Anguish inserts tons of cuts into their music, sounding sludgy rather than moving.

With five songs (in which one of them is a two minute somber interlude) ranging at thirty minutes, the ''Salvation'' Ep is more of an album than an Ep. I suppose they didn't bother searching for a more original album cover though I'm quite content with the huge cross amid the dark grey sky, seething bitter despair and sorrow as it stands there. As stated, Altar Of Oblivion explores the epic portion of doom metal, roots deeply  planted in the heart of the likes of Candlemass, Saint Vitus, etc. I just loved the combination of traditional heavy metal and epic doom metal, but I'm bot certain if it was the boxy, oppressing production quality that rendered the music so gravitating, or Altar's stellar execution, but either way, I can't seem to find anything in this to scoff at as subdued, mournful doom metal has always been something that I adored. Like most bands to enhance their music with that whole ''epic'' touch, the atmosphere becomes boundlessly cloudy and epic during the chorus sections, adorned with sparse and rich melodies coming from under. ''Salvation'' also has a crucial implement to support the music; a thick guitar tone much like the production quality, only even more crushing.

The great thing is, the moods and tempos are linked together so there's no sudden change of speed like other  [metal genre]-doom hybrids. This allows the album to move cautiously and sequentially, and the pace of the music is always kept low, channeling between mid paced chugs or completely drowning doom metal riffs. Well, at least for the majority songs. The title track gets a little bit more spunk at the back and keeps things fresher and faster than before even though it's still bound to the classic formula of the Ep with iron shackes and chains. The main idea here is obvious; Altar Of Oblivion implant tons of traditional heavy metal aesthetics into their enjoyable brand of epic doom metal, and while at basis their music is simply crafted and plainly garnished, it shows that both punishing crushers and melodies of sorrowful pulchritude can coexist at the same time. This doom, is true beauty and true traditional doom, a hefty slab of epic metal you won't forget so easily. It's impact is still palpable on me.

The Believers In The Mist
The Narrow Gates Of Emptiness

Rating: 86,5%

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