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Altarage - The Approaching Roar

The Approaching Roar
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 January 2019, 12:07 PM

From their Facebook page, “For all its historic and contemporary emphasis on gore, violence, and the southern hemisphere of the otherworldly, it’s a bit surprising how unscary modern Death Metal is. It seems like there are fewer and fewer Death Metal records that take you out of your element by presenting genuinely unnerving material. Spain’s ALTARAGE, with their doomy, perpetually murk-ridden Death Metal style, have proven a notable exception to the above. Rather than focusing primarily on the thematic elements that have been a staple of death metal for decades, the band instead opt for a unique sonic intimidation that is easily recognizable as distinctly their own. “The Approaching Roar” is the band’s third full-length album.

“Sighting” leads off the album. The music is thick with hate and anger, and the vocals are guttural utterances that would wake the dead. Although the blast beat drums are relentless, the riff changes here and there. “Knowledge” starts off with a chaotic attack, devoid of melody. The heavy dissonant sound pierces shadow and flesh. “Urn” opens with a fuzzy and heavy guitar sound, slightly out of tune. The main riff comes in and crushes everything beneath your feet. “Sonic intimidation” indeed. After the half-way mark it settles a bit, like an undead army marching towards you.

“Hieroglyphic Certainty” opens with an assault on your ears, before settling into a deep and dark hole from which no life springs forth. Talk about scary…it doesn’t last long but those hateful feelings linger. “Cyclopean Certainty” opens with more of that dissonant rage. It settles into a lumbering groove with a harrowing sound, like you are stuck in a loop that you cannot escape. “Inhabitant” opens with a slow and crushing sound, emitting sounds that might come from a black hole roving across open space. Those short epic beats at the end is the sound of your heart expiring.

“Chaworos Sephelln” wastes no time going for the throat in a rage fueled exercise of pure hatred. Just before the half-way mark, the sound drops almost completely, save for an eerie note in the background and soft guitar swells that are evil in their delivery. But the chaos returns with un-matched intensity. “Werbuild” opens with a fuzzy guitar riff and an odd meter, before settling into a punishing, slow grind, with blast beat drums and ferocious guttural vocals. “Engineer” closes the album, with fuzzy distortion. It builds into a sonic attack of guitars and crashing cymbals.

The production is about what you would expect to hear, in line with the shape that the songs take. “The Approaching Roar” was a hate-fueled album of heavy and dissonant songs that would take the life from you. There wasn’t much in the way of variation, but what they do, they do well. The lingering and crushing heaviness are enough to crush the life out of you, and the only emotion they know is nothingness.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Sighting
2. Knowledge
3. Urn
4. Hieroglyphic Certainty
5. Cyclopean Clash
6. Inhabitant
7. Chaworos Sephelln
8. Werbuild
9. Engineer
Record Label: Season of Mist


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