Altar of Perversion – Intra Naos (Review)

Altar of PerversionAltar of Perversion are an Italian black metal band and this is their second album.

Sometimes I enjoy the challenge of getting to grips with something that’s absolutely immense in length and content. Intra Naos is exactly one such release. At 114 minutes in duration, it’s an ambitious release, and a potentially daunting proposition for even the hardened black metal fan. However, because the band producing this material have completely pulled it off, it can yield vast rewards for those willing and able to explore its many allures.

Altar of Perversion play raw, occult black metal that’s expansive and full of dark atmosphere. These long songs take in various moods and paces across the playing time, providing the listener with a comprehensive blackened listening experience. The music is hewn from classic black metal and presented in an authentic, passionate way. It makes for a compelling listen as the grim music floods you and fills you with mysterious energies and visions of death and destruction.

As the songs progress they traverse multiple stylistic terrains, using melody, atmosphere, and aggression extremely well across the album’s playing time. Due to the length of these tracks you never quite know what you’re going to discover next, with elements of dark doom, dissonant hatred, atmospheric exploration, softer introspection, and many, many more hidden delights spread out across the album.

Although obviously cut from an orthodox blackened cloth, these songs very much belong to Altar of Perversion. By this I mean that the amount of care and attention that has gone into the creation of these foul hymns is obvious from the very start. These tracks have clearly not just been thrown together on a whim; everything here has been considered, everything has meaning. This is a band that don’t produce music just for the sake of entertainment, but for their own esoteric purposes. Intra Naos has something to say, regardless of whether you wish to hear it or not.

The music is sinister and crafts its dark soundscapes well. This is a band that don’t seem to have written their songs, but rather seem to have summoned and channelled them from some dark daemonic abyss. This incantation is led by the band’s singer, who acts as a focal point for the unclean energies that are brought into the world through the music. Vocally he gives a first-rate performance, mainly delivering classic blackened screams, but not exclusively limiting himself to this.

The production fits the music perfectly, being both clear and raw. You can hear what all of the instruments are doing, and they all sound very good indeed. The drums are very satisfying, the guitars have just the right amount of frosted ice, and I really like that you can hear the bass guitar’s contribution.

Intra Naos is a colossal achievement. For such a long album it holds the attention remarkably well, as the dark soundscapes created by the band draw you in effortlessly. The music has been crafted to such a high standard that once you start listening to this, you won’t want to stop.

Danger, excitement, and esoteric rewards await you here, but be wary, as this is not for casual listeners. Explore this at length and with great care, for Altar of Perversion have created something exceptional, but it pulses with a dark life of its own that just might like to taste yours.

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