Thursday, August 16, 2012

Altar Of Oblivion - Grand Gesture Of Defiance

Brooding over the latest Ep of the Danish doom bringers, ‘’Salvation’’, I never actually saw this, an album coming. Me and Altar Of Oblivion don’t really go back long, but I was quite well acquainted with their Ep which was out earlier this year, and as I was entirely pleased by the results, I rushed to obtain their latest material. I was baffled when I saw the lengthy bulk of thirty four minutes four minutes filled with completely fresh material, proving that the band is much more productive than they seem. Personal emotions aside, Altar Of Oblivion present a true magnum opus with ‘’Grand Gesture Of Defiance’’.  While the album doesn’t deviate even marginally from its predecessor, it culminates the band’s soulful, mournful aura of epic doom metal, and delivers it in a nearly flawless manner, not exceedingly sophisticated but not entirely dull or repetitive either.

Although there are many doom masters who inflict hefty exercises of crushing ponds and stomps upon the listener in a melancholic edge, there aren’t quite many bands which excel at the same extent as Altar Of Oblivion. ‘’Grand Gesture Of Defiance’’ is definitely a mournful monolith of epic pulchritude, and the majority of the record does indeed flow in a ponderous way (although still very fluent whilst doing so), but part of the melancholy comes from the subtle passages that adorn and augment its epic touch, and never is it drudgy or drowning. Lots of people compare Altar Of Oblivion to King Diamond, which is a very relevant comparison in any way. The band espouses such a melodious embellishment and disperses it throughout the album, and a heavy/doom sound is also more considerable compared to the dry doom metal tag, as the band channels into swifter, catchy excursions more often than many doom metal obelisks, leaving a sweet, forlorn and almost lamenting traditional heavy metal taste in your mouth.

Eventually, the sombre attitude of the album pervades, and another surprising aspect leaves it mark. Despite being relatively more intricate in compositions and structure than most traditional heavy metal bands, Altar Of Oblivion’s music is memorable, and you’ll find yourself murmuring the melody driven chorus more often than you’d think. The guitar tone was a disappointment at first, I must admit. While expected something just as bulky and rich as the tone on the ‘’Salvation’’ Ep, I got something that’s only half as muscular, or dense, and although the guitar flickers with lower notes just as often as it foes with higher, shriller notes, certain moments where the only thing that ruled the music was a groovy beat and choppy chug felt empty. I eventually got used to it, though, but I still think Altar Of Oblivion could have done better in the tone department, especially when it came to releasing some tasty chops.

All in all, though, ‘’Grand Gesture Of Defiance’’ proves to be a marginally better performance the fantastic Ep released before it. A beautiful churning of soulful vocals, culminating choruses and memorable patters linked together soothingly is what it is. The Danish will probably expose their poignant climax, but even they can’t reach higher heights, this stands as a beautiful monolith of sombre and epic doom metal – one that’s a guaranteed win for fans of traditional heavy, doom, and all sorts of epic metal for that matter. It’s rather a grand gesture of megalithic beauty, really, but it could also be defiant, we can never know. 

Where Darkness Is Light
Sentenced In Absentia
The Graveyard Of Broken Dreams

Rating: 88,5%

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