Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Altarage - Endinghent

ALTARAGE - Endinghent (SEASON OF MIST - LP 2017)
Altarage are band, which plays this unique, utterly obscure, sepulchral and dissonant death metal. And like these few other similar acts (Portal, Mitochondrion, Abyssal, Antediluvian and so forth), they also managed to find their own path in this dark dimension and more so, their music has great quality. I do have to admit that their previous album, "Nihl", was damn solid, I enjoyed it, even though it wasn't the easiest album to get into. But the music was getting better and better with each listen. I liked that monstrous sound, some incredible riffs, inhuman vocals and the aura, which was almost terrifying. Now Altarage are back with their second full length album, "Endinghent". The band signed a pact with Seasons of Mist, which surely is a step forward for them. And musically I have to say that "Endinghent" is a good follower to "Nihl". Again, not the easiest music, not the catchiest and most memorable death metal. But if you give it time, it may click and impress you. And provide some most unpleasant experiences.  
Listening to Altarage music always feels like a journey into the darkest and most desolate, deepest pits. Riffs are creating a frightening claustrophobic feeling, if the walls were coming closer and closer to you and they're getting heavier with each next minute. The vocals are echoing like monstrous grunts or tortured yells of something inhuman and unknown, yet terrifying. This music does not want you to abandon this horrid place though, it wants to bury you in this most eerie place, so you keep listening to it. In the end, it will crush and suffocate you. It's almost unreal how it feels to listen to this music, especially if you provide it proper conditions (headphones and total fuckin' darkness!). But this is exactly why Altarage - and many similar bands - are so exciting to listen to. Because this is fantastic experience and something almost uncanny. 
From the strict musical point of view, Altarage doesn't provide a pleasant and catchy sound. Again they use many discordant, abrasive chords, many blast beats, chaotic and truly heavy parts... There's also a lot of diversity in this album, whether we speak of tempo variations or riff style. And once more you can hear vocals, which work almost like another instrument and are responsible for creating this sinister atmosphere just as much as the rest of Altarage music. You won't find any melodic parts here, hardly any riff can be described as memorable! More so, some parts sound like pure cacophony. But again, when combined with that feeling of eeriness and insane heaviness, it all works perfectly and becomes a main strength of Altarage music.  
Just as "Nihl", "Endinghent" is also very violent record and played at fast pace in many fragments. And I have to say that I like how Altarage sounds there, especially in anthems such as "Spearheaderon""Weighteer""Fold Eksis" - pure, relentless force, sheer brutality and insanity. At the same time the focus on slower playing is more careful and omnipresent, especially with songs like "Incessant Magma", "Rift" or the fantastic "Barrier", which show incredible strength and viciousness. So, there is enough variation on "Endinghent", but when playing it you need to focus on this music, spend time with it, not use it as an enjoyable background for your daily routines. It won’t work that way. This album demands your attention. 
Let me also say that it's just unbelievable how did death metal evolve, creating such vicious and savage forms. At the same time, it answers the question "whether it's still possible to create something new in this style of music". With bands like Altarage the answer is "yes, definitely!". Of course, it's not music for every death metal fan, I am sure than most of them will think of it as too chaotic and "unpleasant". If you expect to hear classic death metal riffs, forget about "Endinghent". But if you want something different, then give it a chance. 
Standout tracks: "Spearheaderon", "Barrier", "Rift", "Weighteer" 
Verdict: 80/100 

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