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Altareth – Blood

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 25 January 2022, 5:50 AM

ALTARETH is a stoner doom band from Sweden, who formed in 2013. Although "Blood" is their full length debut, they have released a demo and two EPs. As far as stoner doom goes, this album gets pretty dark in places.  It also has a varied sound that makes "Blood" a consistently engaging listen. The production is loud and clear but not over done on either—the hazy atmosphere the style is known for remains in tact. The riffs are dense, to the point of often times being on the sludge side. The bass has, of course, more than enough fuzz and vibration. Stoner doom isn't a genre known for its large selection of amazing singers but Magic Paddy's vocals are solid. To me, he sounds like a less nasal Ozzie.

The title track gets the album going with macabre keys and riffs with deadly tone. The drums and bass hammer down as one, making this instantly more heavy than a lot of other stint doom bands. The lead guitar adds a layer of psychedelic tension to the proceedings. After the halfway mark, the song grows more sludgy and the guitar adds in a nice old school twist. "Downward Mobile" has the bass dialing back on the fuzz but also taking control of the song. The riffs hit soon after and the whole band plays music that might be as heavy as this planet. The riffs switch to a blues inspired groove as the filtered vocals come into play. The drums gain intensity as they push the action higher and higher. The ending is capped off by a long and adventurous solo that teeters on the edge of psychedelic madness.

"Moon" is perhaps the heaviest song on the album—the riffs deep and low, as if they were pulled out of a graveyard. The vocals are layered and echoed—effects that work in the song's context and make it all the better. After the 4:30 mark, the music goes clean but no less doom. The rest of the song is muddy riffs and a solo that is half melodic and half high as hell. "Empty" is anything but its namesake. It's the longest song at just under 9 minutes in length. It is a grand track that encompasses the album as a whole. Intense, melodic,  psychedelic and a little frightening across the nine minutes makes it not only the best way to end the album but also the best song on it. "Blood" is a surprisingly deep, expansive and cleverly written stoner doom metal album that will appeal to people who don't even like the genre.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Blood
2. Satan Hole
3. Downward Mobile
4. Eternal Sleep
5. Moon
6. High Priest
7. Empty
Magic Paddy - Vocals
Sven Lindqvist - Guitars
Niklas Sörum - Guitars
Mats Lindgren - Bass
Vigfus Valgeirsson - Drums
Record Label: Magnetic Eye Records


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