Reviews Altar Of Plagues Mammal

Altar Of Plagues

Mammal

Ireland's Altar of Plagues play a style of black metal so atmospheric in nature, that you can't help but be completely taken in by the sounds you're hearing and the thoughts the music conjures in your mind. Mammal is only their second full length offering, and whilst White Tomb was unquestionably fantastic, this new record is on an entirely different level. Both musically and lyrically. It's been stated in many interviews given by the band and chief lyricist James Kelly that Mammal is primarily an album dealing with the concept of death and it's effects. And it's plain to hear that this concept is examined in an extremely personal manner.

First track "Neptune Is Dead" introduces itself with a noise so alien, you can't possibly place it or even recognize it. It's difficult to describe, but it sets up the album perfectly. After a minute or so, the drums kick in. And they certainly kick; the drum sound on this album is incredible, and a real driving force to the whole piece. Vocally, there's deep, gut wrenching agonized howls. You may think that most black metal features lyrics that you have no chance of making out, but when the line "...and still I feel nothing" is roared at you, you can feel every single emotion those words carry.

The most intriguing song on this album is ""When The Sun Drowns In The Ocean." This track features a sample of an ancient Irish funerary custom known as a "keening." This practice is best explained on the bands official website (http://altarofplagues.com/) and the piece is almost hypnotic in effect, completely in keeping with the lyrical themes and overall tone of the record. The music itself is almost industrial in it's style, lending itself to repetition and again quite mesmerising. It fully captures the tone of the "keening," which makes a reappearance at the end of the song, enfolding the listener into the depths of the despair felt.

The album closer, "All Life Converges To Some Center" is a thirteen minute, unrelenting assault on the ears. Absolutely pounding drums and that Altar of Plagues signature guitar tone combine with vocals torn from the very depths of the soul to bring this album to it's ultimate end. The fading minutes are filled with feedback, white noise and a solitary drum. Beautiful.

8.5 / 10Cheryl
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8.5 / 10

8.5 / 10

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