Altar Of Betelgeuze - Among The Ruins review




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Reviewer:
8.0

28 users:
7.86
Band: Altar Of Betelgeuze
Album: Among The Ruins
Release date: April 2017


01. The Offering
02. Sledge Of Stones
03. No Return
04. New Dawn
05. Absence Of Light
06. Advocates Of Deception
07. Among The Ruins


There's a special feeling you get inside when you're anticipating the sophomore release of a quality band. You're obviously still following them because something about their breakout effort stuck with you. Maybe it floored you to the point that you're foaming at the mouth for the next chapter. Or perhaps you thought it was "just ok" but are still curious as to whether or not the band has gotten any better in the interim. Either way, you want more.

In case you missed it, back in 2014, the Finnish Altar Of Betelgeuze offered up the impressive Darkness Sustains The Silence, a heavy, enjoyable slab of groovy death doom. And the "more" that they deliver 3 years later with Among The Ruins only keeps that train a'rollin. When I first discovered the band, even before listening I had a feeling they were going to be a fun listen just from a promo pic I saw of them: four members, one sporting a Watain shirt, another a Sleep one, another repping Death, and the final guy rocking a King Diamond hoodie. Indeed, this is the sort of blend of influences that really seems to come out in the band's music. Some more so than others, but with this sophomore album you've got catchy riffs and beautiful clean vocals a la 90s stoner bands ("Sledge Of Stones," "No Return"), occasionally softer, more melodic breaks ("Absence Of Light," the title track), and subtle nods to extreme metal with some riffs occasionally played in more of a death metal style, and of course, growled vocals.

But those growled vocals though, damn. That's the one spot where the music of Altar Of Betelgeuze seems to falter. It's an issue I find with most "death doom" bands, not just these guys, this feeling that often with this sort of music you essentially get "doom metal with death growls slapped on top" as opposed to an actual, tight fusion of death and doom. These Finns' ability to craft bouncy, memorable as fuck stoner jamz is high, but as you're listening along to their tunes, grooving out, and those death growls pop up, for me at least they often feel totally out of place. Not just because they're moments of extremity amidst an otherwise more mellow listening experience, but also because they really don't go any further into a death metal area from there. So if you're looking for the music to pick up its intensity after those growls come in, you're kind of left hanging. In the future for AOB, it'd probably be a good idea to either ditch these vocals entirely and just focus on the crunchy stoner approach they do so well, or to increase the death metal presence in their music.

All that being said, Altar Of Betelgeuze have far more going for them with their music than they do things working against them. Among The Ruins, as well as its predecessor, is nothing short of a very good cut of death doom that could possibly use some tweaking, but that would still probably be pretty fun and enjoyable even without such tweaking. While perhaps not too high on the originality factor, AOB are a band that simply do what they do better than a lot of other bands in their department. It's what makes them stick out, it's what keeps me coming back, and it's what should keep make you check them out.

What "ruins" could they possible be referring to in the album title? Çatal Hüyük? Mohenjo-Daro? I'm thinking Babylon.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


 



Written on 08.04.2017 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 186 users
09.04.2017 - 02:21
BitterCOld
Gringo
Nice work and haha i made a crack about the same pic when i reviewed DSTS...

"On their promo pic, the fiendish Finns are sporting gear dropping Watain, Sleep, Death, and King Diamond. At various points in this release they tread metal ground clearly influenced by each of these artists, though fortunately they leave the falsetto to King Diamond & He Man*"
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get the fuck off my lawn.
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09.04.2017 - 20:51
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by BitterCOld on 09.04.2017 at 02:21

Nice work and haha i made a crack about the same pic when i reviewed DSTS...

Yeah it's a good shot, I like when you see bands with members flaunting the merch of bands from a wide array of styles
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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11.04.2017 - 11:22
KC
Great review! Thank you so much guys!
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Transcending Obscurity Records | PR Company | Online Magazine (est 2005)

http://www.tometal.com
http://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurity
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11.04.2017 - 17:08
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by KC on 11.04.2017 at 11:22

Great review! Thank you so much guys!

Hey, no problem man! I was worried at first about this review being a bit delayed, but the album release date itself ended up being a little pushed back, so... no worries there
Happy to help, you've got some pretty good stuff on your label!
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Written by RaduP on 14.01.2016 at 02:08

So you're not actually a bearded shaman opening his third eye through music?
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15.04.2017 - 11:18
KC
It was well worth the wait! Thanks guys! Please check out Warcrab too (death metal + sludge) if you haven't yet -

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Transcending Obscurity Records | PR Company | Online Magazine (est 2005)

http://www.tometal.com
http://www.facebook.com/transcendingobscurity
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