2017’s Endinghent was a contagious plague of ugly blackened dissonance, and The Approaching Roar provides us with a brand new 43 minutes of dark intensity and malignant hatred.
This is punishing, unforgiving music. The black and death metal influences twist and entwine together like some unholy pairing of equally foul and toxic daemons. The guitars slither and slide across the other instruments as they create harrowing, brutal soundscapes seemingly out of the stuff of the void. The drums consist of inhuman batterings, full of precise blast beats and pummelling fills. The bass exists in the murk, dragging unwary souls to their doom, while the vocals are so pitch black and evil, it’s hard to believe that they come from a person.
The music’s brutal dissonance is well-formed and complete, but there’s a hefty dose of suffocating, claustrophobic atmosphere here too. We also get treated to a few nuanced and subtler moments of what probably passes for introspection and lighter touches here and there. It’s all rooted in a framework of unpleasant, negatively-drenched foulness, but it all adds depth and texture to what Altarage offer.
Bleak and dangerously cold music, this is still infectiously intoxicating stuff if you’re a fan of grim extreme metal. The Approaching Roar is not something that you mindlessly stick on as you get ready to go out, but something that you play when you want to be absorbed in an underworld of torment and horror.
Altarage continue to traverse Hell dimensions on an ever upward trajectory of improving quality. The band’s blend of brutal, dissonant, atmospheric blackened death metal may be a mouthful when written in such terms, but their music is impressively wrought and devastatingly expressed.
Very highly recommended.