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Altar of Plagues - Sol CD (album) cover


Altar of Plagues


Experimental/Post Metal

3.82 | 9 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Sol' - Altar Of Plagues (8/10)

Certainly one of the more ambitious black metal bands I have come across, Ireland's Altar Of Plagues make a pretty solid display of their style with 'Sol,' their second EP. A noisy mixture of traditionally black metal and more mellow, post-rock elements, Altar Of Plagues does well to establish for themselves, a pretty distinct sound in a genre that has been downtrodden by it's uniformity. Despite only having three real tracks here and feeling a tad too short for it's own good, 'Sol' is generally an excellent EP, and sure to be archived as one of the band's strongest achievements when all is said and done.

Always a band to steer away from the typical black metal lyrical topics of Satanism and winter, much of this band's work is very political and environmentally conscious, therefore the title 'Sol' has a very significant meaning here to the concept and message that Altar Of Plagues is trying to get across. Musically, the black metal sound is almost always present in the heavier sections of the EP, but the speed and blastbeats are often meshed with ethereal guitar melodies and added subtleties, making the generally low fidelity nature of the recording quite a bit more intricate than one might expect.

The post-rock sections here are nice for the sake of dynamic, but are generally kept very simple with cleanly strummed guitars and light drumwork. While it's great to see the contrast from heavy to cleaner music here and the mellow bits give a sort of respite amongst the sludgy heaviness, it wold have been nice to have seen a bit more done with it. That being said, the highlight and strength of 'Sol' lies in the heavy, yet beautiful sections. Underneath screaming that sometimes sounds like typical black metal rasping and at other times sounds more akin to something like Neurosis, there are always interesting, soaring riffs washing over the mix, giving some beautiful melodic presence that would have otherwise lacked.

Towards the end of the third and fourth tracks (the poetically titled 'Twisted Structures Against The Sun' and 'With Fire In Our Veins We Drown In Light' respectively), there's even some very quiet soundscaping that makes ample use of electronics and studio effects. Perhaps these are the biggest surprises on 'Sol' to behold, but as a whole, this is a very strong black metal release that dares to defy alot of the conventions of the genre, while still maintaining the chilling atmosphere and not going absolutely bonkers in the process... I only wish it was longer!

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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