Altar of Plagues: Post/Black Metal with Eco-Awareness Messages!

Dah lama takde penulis jemputan, kali ni dari individu yang gua tak kenal yang menamakan dirinya sebagai Watcher. Ok,cun.
By: Watcher
This is actually my fourth attempt to write about Altar of Plagues. it must be the weather that keeping me away from writing .
Altar of Plagues is an Ambient/Post/Black Metal from Ireland. Now I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t really know much of bands from Ireland except Cruachan, Primordial and Mael Mórdha. Other than that I’m left clueless. However, Altar of Plagues is probably one of Ireland’s finest metal act for the moment. But uhh, that is just me, you can stick to *barff*Behemoth*barff* if you want muahaha. Okay uhh seriously Altar of Plagues is not your standard Black Metal. Sorry, this is not your typical buzzing, thin sounding band with the vocalist screaming about anti-Christianity and blasphemy for 4 minutes. And uhh, no corpse paint as well. Purists might go all rage because this is not a tr00 and kvlt because they don’t preach about Satan, winter and forest! Altar of Plagues on the other hand is playing a long,winding Black Metal infused with Post Metal and Ambient music. Not like your standard Black Metal huh? And add up to that, instead of dealing with topics such as Satanism and hatred towards humankind, Altar of Plagues concentrates on ecosystem, conservation, and any topics related to mankind and earth. I suppose you can say they like a bunch of Greenpeace activists went rampage and decided to play Black Metal to channel their frustration. Might as well call their music Green Metal. Well, I’m just sayin’!

Anyhow it is their Post/Black Metal and conservationist theme that draws me to give them a listen. While not Black Metal in the real sense, Altar of Plagues (AoP) is really dark and possess the same eerie quality like a Black metal band should have. AoP was formed in 2006 in Cork, Ireland. I think much of the band members are shrouded in mystery as I never found any clear photo of them (it’s either in a very bad quality or intentionally edited to make it uhh,to appear damaged ahah). Never mind. The latest (more or less) line-up of AoP consists of:

J. Kelly – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards
D. Condon – Bass, Vocals
J. Spillane – Guitars
S. MacAnri – Drums

Ever since of their formation, AoP has released 1 demo, 3 EPs and 1 full length to date. Their first full length titled White Tomb, garnered positive feedbacks from metal communities worldwide, although I suspect in this part of region, AoP is still pretty unknown. Probably I can say AoP belongs in the same group with Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room,sharing similarities in musical style and themes.

Well, I’m not going to waste my time writing all other general details about AoP, you can google them yourself. I’m gonna review their first full length ‘White Tomb’ which was released last year by Profound Lore. White Tomb consisted of 4 tracks (all spanning more than 8 minutes), all dealing with urban decay, the wrath of nature and ecology.

Earth: As a Womb
Earth: As a Furnace
Through the Collapse: Watchers Restrained
Through the Collapse: Gentian Truth
The album is splitted to 2 part, one is Earth while the other one is Through the Collapse. White Tomb clearly demonstrated their post-rock/metal influence as well as ambient. I have to say I like the vocals as, very throaty and at times sounded like a witch (probably by the other vocalist). The guitars are the instruments that reflected the most post-rock tendency with echo and dynamic build ups, which often interchanged with metal characteristics (blastbeats and stuff). The build up is the reason why songs in White Tomb are long and winding. But I kinda like the atmosphere made by the echoing guitars, suggesting the bleak and apocalyptic mood.Post rock and black metal are mixed beautifully in this album and I think they nailed it.

My pick would be the first track, Earth: As a Womb. The long intro is really hypnotic and when the blastbeat came in, everything turned chaotic. The drummer is tight, playing simple beats and fills, and executed both and fast tempo seamlessly.

Overall White Tomb is a good release, a break from the typical Black Metal product we usually know. I consider it to be an alternative to Agalloch and Wolves in the Throne Room. Recommended to those with a tinge of post rock/metal and of course, to green activists all around the globe!
AoP can be reached here.

-Metal Archive

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