•  Posted in: Kogaionon ReviewsRating: 0.99/1
  • Album: Mammal
  • Year: 2011
  • Artist: 
  • Ireland

It's incredible how a young band has managed to shock me in such a manner that it had me categorically get back into the more extreme stuff of the Metal genres! The three Irish come back with the second official album after the splendid "Tides" EP. If I'm to think things better, the Dark component found on the EP is much present there and just there; also the loose grey tones remain  spectacular on that release as well. I was more than curious to see what will James & Co come back with, and perhaps that is why I haven't intended to have expectations in a certain direction. The approached Black Metal is an innovative, modern one, full of experiments and stylistic insertions: Progressive, Ambient, Post-Rock, Noise, Doom or Post Metal. The new album debates the theme of death and all texts gravitate and disputes additional topics. The climax is the song "When the Sun Drowns in the Ocean", an entire funeral ceremony in the old Irish style (have a look at the link for more details):

The approx 9 minutes, the length of this form of ceremonial burial and lamentation (keeing), come as a breather after two extremely gloomy tracks, intensive, that haunt, choke and destroy any form of hope! We are talking about a half an hour of claustrophobic introspection, where the instruments and voice synchronize phenomenally, the two tracks revealing the transitions and breaks at an incredible pace, from slowest and most ambient-like to the angriest strokes that we have ever heard in Black Metal! "Neptune Is Dead" begins majestically with an exquisite Epica imprint, which then turns into a wave of maximum tension, where the guitars and battery short-circuits everything around. The aggressive voice completes the dark landscape, as desolate as dynamic. Then the more melodic phases start, slow ones, guitar interludes and improvisations, there are also ambient elements, finally returning to strength and aggressiveness. We are talking about a track of over 18 minutes, where you have no time to get bored! The ending sequence throws us into a sinister dimension, where the battery leaves place to guitars, the Noise elements smartly interfere and the background piano communicates with certain sinister sounds, hard to decipher. "Feather And Bone" follows the direction of the first song and the 12 minutes outlines more clearly the Post-Rock but also Post Metal elements from the compositional structure. But these strokes are presented to us in a less hospitable manner than in FEN, for example, where the atmospheric compound invites the listener to meditation... here everything is much darker, haunting, we discover an unique expression of disappointment and despair. But I like the ease with which the three young musicians pass from slow to the aggressive passages, this journey being one in which you have no time to breathe. After that keeing I talked about earlier, comes the last track of the album, "All Life Converges To Some Centre", another gloomy 14 minutes, with a beginning that gives us the hope of a settled sound, with Doom accents, clean vocals and domestic guitar... Obviously hope disappears only after several riffs, the aggressive voice comes back, the drummer beats permanently, it has several rhythms that remind me of LUDICRA or AGALLOCH and the guitars continue their virtuous game. In conclusion, ALTAR OF PLAGUES is a modern expression of a Black Metal that I thought long gone, at least at the innovation chapter... KRALLICE or WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM fans will be more than happy with this album and my curiosity is now pushing me towards seeing the Irishmen live! A true jewel!