The album begins with "Sighting", which to my surprise, started eerily slowly with the band coming in at full force about half a minute in; I am sure I literally jumped out of my skin! They bring the intensity from the very first song; with a deep groove, blast beats, double bass and snarling vocals. It truly sets the tone for the rest of the album, giving the audience a taste of what is to come!
"Knowledge" is the second track and begins with a steady, intense beat - yet Altarage just seems to take "intense" to an entirely new level. The vocals are basically undecipherable, therefore the listener is left to their own devices. This song is IMMENSELY aggressive and made me want to jump in my car, 6th gear, pedal to the wall. Listener interpretation seems very important in these songs and we shall get to more of that later.
My absolute FAVOURITE song is the fourth track, "Hieroglyphic Certainty". This song is where the drummer showcases his insurmountable skills; it's a short song but in those 3 minutes, your ears hear every blast beat, tempo change and the most incredible part of the song, the throbbing double bass that DOES NOT LET UP. At one point, I nearly thought my ear drums couldn't take the bass-heavy sound but I was pleasantly surprised! If there is one song you MUST have a go at and you are not a massive fan of death or black metal, try this song to see how it fits. It is absolutely worth the three minutes to hear this tremendous drummer's talents on display.
"Cyclopean Clash", the fifth song, rings true to a typical death metal tune; carrying all of the necessary elements. This song is most definitely what I like to call, "controlled chaos" - which doesn't make it a bad tune in any way - merely a predictable display of Altarage's blackened death metal skills, which by now you know are quite impressive.
"Inhabitant" is the sixth song and a brilliant one at that; as I said, Altarage leaves the listener to interpret the songs as their mind will allow - and on this particular track, my mind was twisting and turning through the dark tunnels we desperately try to run from in our worst nightmares! The drummer incorporates a very unique tribal beat that flows nicely in and out of the deep groove of the song. Towards the end, I found myself having the feeling of wanting to RUN- But what exactly might I be running from?? Altarage has a formula of setting up your paranoia and driving it deeper into your psyche, especially in this fast-driven song.
"Chamoros Sephellin" comes next, this being the most 'conventional' death metal song on the album. It follows the traditional ear-splitting guitar riffs with a ‘lyrics/chorus/lyrics’ feel, until the just over 2 min mark- when it all halts and all the listener is left with is a steady ear-piercing high pitched sound with a hauntingly quiet silence; you know the song is nowhere near over and at 4 minutes, the band comes CRASHING back in - a heavy, off-kilter beat and repetitive guitar riffs that make this song a true classic headbanger.
"Werbuild" and "Engineer" end the album, again, taking the listener on their very own mental trip and left to their own imagination.
I found this album to be one of the heaviest I have listened to in a long while yet somehow I was drawn to the frenetic yet controlled grooves woven throughout this album. As the three members choose to remain anonymous, it also gives the tracks an ominous feel - as if they quite possibly might not WANT you to know exactly what they are saying - BECAUSE THEY ARE DRILLING IT INTO YOUR SKULL SONICALLY. I cannot think of a better way to enjoy death metal with a side of black, can you??
Band - Altarage
Written by Marisa Dymond