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Altar of Plagues - Tides CD (album) cover

TIDES

Altar of Plagues

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.03 | 12 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Tides' - Altar Of Plagues (7/10)

Even a few years ago, the genre of black metal was considered a bastion of purity. Not in the slight sense that the themes and topics covered by the underground style were 'pure' or 'sacred' in nature, but the genre was generally kept on it's own; the mere idea of tampering it with other sounds and styles was blasphemy. Years have past since then, and it's bands like the Ireland-based Altar of Plagues that are debasing the misconception that black metal cannot be successfully crossed over. Coming to the scene's attention after the release of a strong debut full-length 'White Tomb,' the band has released this two song extended play as a follow up. While a double track offering may seem like nothing more than a weak afterthought to any full-length, these two songs are fifteen and twenty minutes long, respectively. Adding up to approximately thirty five minutes in length, there's no doubt that 'Tides' can be considered an album and independent work of it's own.

The two epics 'Atlantic Light' and 'The Weight Of All' comprise the length of 'Tides.' In describing the music of Altar Of Plagues, the sound is akin to that of the wave of depressive black metal in the United States. Projects like Xasthur share alot in common with this band, although Altar Of Plagues definately seems to distinguish itself with a more post-metal leaning than most black metal out there. While the first secttion of 'Atlantic Light' certainly falls into the DSBM category, it isn't long before the prevailing black metal sound gives way to more of a post-metal and sludge vibe. All the while, the music keeps the same flow to it, which is proof right away that black metal works well when coupled with other genres. The production is dense, rough and noisy, but to an extent, it seems to work for the sludgy style.

While the unrelenting repetition and minimalism of the music does lend it a very hypnotic feel, parts of each song do get the feeling that they overstay their welcome a bit. It's not uncommon for the same riff to play minutes at a time, and while there are developments made to the sound every once in a while to keep things interesting, a little bit more variety in the sound here would have done wonders for the product.

Altar Of Plagues has definately found a niche for themselves in the black metal scene, even though their career has only apparently begun. While 'Tides' seems to be a bit long for the relatively low amount of distinct musical ideas here, each motif is used beautifully, and is quite strong. This is an interesting mix of depressive black and post metal, and a fan of either style should check out this potent crossover.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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