Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Altar of Plagues

Experimental/Post Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Altar of Plagues White Tomb album cover
4.00 | 44 ratings | 5 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Earth: As a Womb (12:03)
2. Earth: As a Furnace (15:00)
3. Through the Collapse: Watchers Restrained (9:48)
4. Through the Collapse: Gentian Truth (13:10)

Total Time: 50:01

Line-up / Musicians

- James "O'Ceallaigh" Kelly / vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums
- Jeremiah Spillane / guitars
- Dave Condon / bass, vocals

- Nathan Misterek / vocals (2,3)
- Stephen Lordan / vocals (4)

Releases information

CD Profound Lore Records ‎- PL045 (2009, Canada)

LP Deviant Records ‎- DEV024 (2009, Germany) New cover art

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy ALTAR OF PLAGUES White Tomb Music

ALTAR OF PLAGUES White Tomb ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

ALTAR OF PLAGUES White Tomb reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars This IS the Music for the End of the World!

If there's a Post-Black scale, I'd place ALTAR OF PLAGUES somewhere in the middle, with the least accessible genre's pioneers (imo) WEAKLING on the one side and almost Shoegazy ALCEST on the another. I've noticed the band (along with good old WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM and newbies like CAINA) among FEN's related bands on lastfm, and what a luck, lastfm didn't lie this time!))) I've got 4 tracks/50 minutes of mindblowing Post-Black to enjoy, and I still do!

ALTARs have a lot of common features with their labelmates like YOB, YAKUZA nd BLOODY PANDA, hence their Post-Black is pretty Doomy (the 3rd track sounds like James Plotkin's KHANATE offshot actually!). Not as easy-listening as AMESOEURS, not as Avant as ARCTURUS, not as Eclectic as AGALLOCH, not as Artsy as FEN, not as Black as BURZUM, but still amazing, fresh and experimental. I even dare to state that "White Tomb" is a definitive Post-Black record and an essential album for the genre (especially for beginners). A Top-5 release from this year for me, EXTREMELY RECOMMENDED!!!

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Black Metal to me is similar in a way to ambient music. It is about creating an atmosphere, soundscapes to allow the listener to evade his daily hassles, to detach oneself from the surroundings and immerse oneself in a "sea" of dark and depressive sounds, long riffs, shrieks, fast paced drumming and occasional interludes and shorter tracks filled with brooding effects to enhance the experience. Of course each band has their own take and creates their own variety, but there is a common basis, a shared vision that lies at the heart of this music. Altar Of Plagues from Ireland know quite well the basics of this art and builds very convincingly on them, creating a crushing, compelling and varied sort of black metal with progressive leanings.

This is not just "in your face" one chord repeated over and over with one constant rhythm music (which is good in itself for my taste); this album presents changing rhythms, multi-part songs and developing of themes that make this old-school-black-metal sounding album a gem to the fans of the genre. It is raw, yet epic in proportion, striving to be complex but not too much and at the expense of appeal, apocalyptic sounding and harsh but warms the heart while listening to it. The vocals themselves are varied: there is post-hardcore screaming as well as the more conventional shriek-like type vocals ? all fitting the music very well. All in all, the music of White Tomb depict very well what I think is the theme here, that of a crumbling Earth, due to the actions of humanity; the destruction leading this whole planet into being a big tomb for us all, animals and plants included.

There are some fabulous moments like at around 6:50 in Earth: As A Furnace, where the lead guitar plays a haunting spell-binding repetitive sound to back the heavy riffs of the rhythm guitar and bass. It then goes on to an ambient-like section where the guitar plays in the front without drums and bass, as if lamenting, creating a depressive atmosphere.

Made up of two parts (Earth and Through The Collapse), each split into two (connected) long songs, this goes on for about 50 minutes, which just seem to fly by. But as you listen to it, you realize this is in fact one long song, as they all interconnect and flow from one to another and should be heard in a single session.

An excellent varied black metal album, highly recommended.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's hard to review such thing, when you can't stand black/death metal. But this can't exclude me from reviewing this. But I also have to be responsible for picking up facts, together with feelings.

I'm quite surprised, because I like it. Well, in neutral way, because I can stand it. That'd progress at least. So, to put it short, it's not just meaningless place for heavy music with death growling, this has a meaning. And neat composition also. Or guitar sound you would kill for. Vocals (no longer humanish). It's like when you can't stand certain tone of voice, for example high pitched ones and singer unfortunately sings in this key note. It's not right to tell that I don't like this, I can't stand vocals, but it's because type of singing. Other things, like atmosphere (so dark, great work) and some other things To put it short, if death metal, then White Tomb.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'White Tomb' - Altar Of Plagues (8/10)

Looking into the numerous EPs by what might be called Ireland's response to Wolves In The Throne Room, Altar Of Plagues' debut full-length 'White Tomb' had some high expectations from me before going into it. After having heard great acclaim concerning the band's fifty minute opus as well as some positive experiences with the band's dynamic take on post-black metal, the bar was set fairly high, and although I haven't found myself entirely blown away by everything the record has to offer, Altar Of Plagues does deliver here. Divided into four winding pieces of experimental and highly atmospheric black metal, 'White Tomb' takes a while to get into, but it has been a journey worth taking.

Altar Of Plagues first came across my radar as being just another one of those black metal bands that throws a few post-rock elements into their music, then calls it a day. Their extended play 'Sol' really changed that few I had though; hearing ample doses of melody and powerful songwriting style really set the band apart from the typical 'grim' black metal act. 'White Tomb' follows this sound up quite well, but tends to drag the compositions out, giving them much more time to build and muster. With soundscapes thrown into the middle of the tracks that sometimes last for several minutes, there is a great bit of dynamic and rest from the heavier parts.

Although there is good reason for Altar Of Plagues to fall underneath the 'black metal' label, a fair amount of has more to do with post-rock than anything else. Often the band will gradually switch between harsh tremolo picking, vocal rasps and blast beats into a soothing flanger of guitars. The transitions are handled fairly smoothly, although it may have been nice to hear a little more combination of the two, instead of keeping the sounds distinct and separate. Of the two styles, I find myself more drawn towards the darker, heavier aspect of Altar Of Plagues; they really manage to take what I previously thought was a dying style and play it with passion. The post-rock elements are fairly minimalistic and take a while longer to warm up to, and it can feel like some of the build ups go on for too long, without enough of a pay-off to warrant it.

Parts of 'White Tomb' certainly tread into the realm of dark ambient, so should one be looking out for a record that keeps the energy high, be forewarned. The album has impressed me as an incredibly dynamic and atmospheric piece of black metal however, surely putting Ireland on the map for this particular style of extreme metal.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars And like an impending pestilence that rains mortality and despair across the lands far and wide, Ireland's ALTAR OF PLAGUES was unleashed like a potato famine from their cryptic whereabouts in Cork only to bring depressive sonic terror to a doomed planet where nary a ray of light exists behind the toxic clouds of an eternal scourge that extinguishes the silver cord to infinity. Existing somewhere in the murky sonic nebulous worlds of ambient black metal, post-rock and sludgy doom, ALTAR OF PLAGUES is one of those bands that has focused less on tight-knit fiery compositions that display the any trace of melodic songwriting skills and virtuoso dynamism but rather reincarnated from the depths of hell to evoke extreme emotional distress through sonic orotundity.

This band that formed in 2006 released a few demos before casting a more official form of darkness with this debut album WHITE TOMB that reflects a post-apocalyptic angst of bleakness delivered by the lineup of James Kelly (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Jeremiah Spillane (guitars), Dave Condon (bass, vocals) and S. MacAnri (drums). Through four long tracks that range from 10 to 15 minutes, this 50 minute rage-a-thon delivers everything from the classic black metal goods of heavily distorted tremolo guitar riffing along with blastbeats and anguished vocals to ethereal dark ambience that reinforces the gravitational pull of distorted darkness and even allows a few guest vocals from Stephen Lordan and Nathan Misterek to utter their pain every now and again.

This album runs very much in the vein of post-rock with slower cyclical riffs slowly gaining maturity through the elements of incremental tempo gains, dynamic intensity increases and the variations that occur through subtle changes that build to some sort of climactic release after several minutes. ALTAR OF PLAGUES is the epitome of a post-metal paradigm only under the banner of a black metal barrage of the senses. Similar to bands like Wolves In The Throne Room, Fen and Deafhaven, this Irish band excels in long thunderous excursions into noisy cacophonous black metal bombast but also allows a little breathing room with quieter passages that offer hypnotic and reflective moments when the perception of the true horrors of reality are allowed to be cogitated upon at least for a brief respite in time.

Verging on blackgaze at times, ALTAR OF PLAGUES often sounds like a broken record of Deafhaven puncturing a hole in space time with only a spiraling and unstable atmospheric collapse generating the ultimate vibrational recipe to destroy the Schumann resonance and craft an expansive degree to insanity. Long dark winters projected through lengthy blistering tracks evoke a touch of Darkspace or even A Forest Of Stars but somehow the band manages to exist within its own sliver of a spectral paradigm of dark atmospheric blackened metal that laments the realities of oppression, urbanism and ecological collapse. Sounding like the industrial razed wastelands coming to life in pure vitriol, gloomy doom fueled atmospheres lurk like servants of Lord Voldemort whose astral entities are ready for attack following the complete usurpation of the physical realm.

I cannot think of a more appropriate band to experience the distressing and formidable realities of the current state of the world in March 2020 with ghastly demonic forces hiding in every foreseeable nook and cranny of space and time and ready to attack on the astral plane where unwilling victims consent through charlatan subterfuge. Honestly i'm not really sure how to classify WHITE TOMB and ALTAR OF PLAGUES in general. Is it black metal? Sludge metal? Post-metal? Just plain experimental hardcore hued to the darkest tones imaginable? In the end it doesn't really matter. If you seek a cathartic toxic elixir for bleakness for the times and resonate with sounds so utterly devoid of hope which engage in more depressive vibes than one can stand, then ALTAR OF PLAGUES is what you have been waiting for. Not only has evil come to steal your soul but it demands you worship its very existence and here's some music to make it all OK.

Latest members reviews

No review or rating for the moment | Submit a review

Post a review of ALTAR OF PLAGUES "White Tomb"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.