Wednesday, March 8, 2017

LP Review: "Among The Ruins" by Altar of Betelgeuze

Among The Ruins
Years ago after the fall of terrestrial radio, we're talking the mid to late Nineties, it became very hard to find out about new acts. As someone who worked in retail at the time and years after that, spending money wasn't something I had a whole lot of to go buy albums by bands I'd never heard of.

One band name that was bandied about frequently was Fear Factory. Their name was basically everywhere, but again, it's not like there was all this cash in my checking account to go spend on their record.

When they were on the Ozzfest bill, I was elated because their music would finally reach my ears. Remember, this was before YouTube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and all the other streaming services. After hours of patiently waiting to hear their dulcet tones, their music did less than move me. As someone who cares little for vocals, as long as they're inoffensive, their singer was what put me off.

Altar of Betelgeuze
His switching back and forth between clean vocals and growls annoyed me. Since then, that style  has largely put me off.

But here we are in 2017, where mashups are frequent and nearly the order of the day.

Finland's Altar of Betelgeuze uses this trick in their music, but much more than that.

It never seems like a parlor trick in their mashup between Stoner Metal and Death Metal.

They switch between clean and dirty sounds all throughout the record and it always services the song.

The throaty growls are punishing and deep. There's no barking here, but strong and powerful vocals full of anger and hate. The clean sounds create a depth of dynamics seldom found in today's me too world of music.

There are strong, chunky guitar lines that are interspersed with melodic arpeggios and beautiful guitar solos. The bass guitars do more than just back up the guitar tracks. Their stiff, metallic sound are a segment of the sound rather than a method of adding more bass to the mix.

For fans who're looking for more obvious musicality and swing to their metal, Altar of Betelgeuze might just fill a need we all didn't know we had.

Release: 4/15/17
Genre: Stoner Death Metal
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Formats: CD/Digital

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