Since its emergence in 2015, Basque blackened/death metal outfit Altarage has been musically associated with bands such as Abyssal and Portal for the excessive amount of dissonance in the song structure. The 2016 debut album ‘Nihl‘ plunged the world into claustrophobic darkness with a musical experimentation of varied tonality. Sounding somewhere in between modern black and death metal the trio returns with their fourth album ‘Succumb‘. They have freshly managed to bring their dissonant remarks as well as the cacophonous sound and harsh vocals on an extreme, voluminous scale. The deafening eruption of the drums along with the guitars creates a huge wall of sound. Despite going through musical phases, it only took a few years for Altarage to reach this level of precision and brutality. Their contemporary works such as the 2019 album ‘The Approaching Roar‘ solidified the band’s persona. Taking one step at a time the band’s newest album is a beast of an album.
On the new album, the Basque anonymous trio demonstrates an abundance of harsh soundscapes and musical creativity. Initiating a relentless sonic blast the opening track ‘Negative Arrival’ is ultimately conveyed by disharmonious riffs and screeches. The shift of the sound aesthetic on the next track ‘Magno Evento‘ shows signs of creativity where the band emphasizes breakdowns and industrial samples. Combining superb musicianship throughout an hour and three minutes ‘Succumb‘ deals mostly with dynamic shifts. Musically the fourth album is a cacophonous blend of dissonance. It is clear that the songs rely on sonic mutation leading to various tempos.
The way in which the songs are formed build on the various use of the guitar riffs. For instance, the third track ‘Maneuvre‘ manages to manifest a darker and twisted approach. However, it is hard to simplify the modality of the style, even though the band often utilizes tremolo-picked riffs and dissonance. Altarage finds creative ways to expose some of the hidden facets that weren’t disclosed in the previous albums. The guitar technique allows the music to maneuver through the domains of modern extreme metal without having any specific or definite direction. The album also features some slow, monolithic tracks such as ‘Foregone‘. Hence, Altarage exhibits varied tonalities by wielding a constant barrage of aggression and slowly droning riffs. With this trademark sound, the Basque trio alternates the tempos without neglecting the necessity for innovative techniques and experimentation.
It’s not easy to get into such abrasive music due to the lack of melodies and memorability. Like the previous albums the latest effort requires a few spins to sink in, the vocals discharge heavy grunts including ghoulish growls. Many of these tracks like ‘Drainage Mechanism‘ bear similarities to bands such as Pissgrave, although the band combines caustic riffs and heavy pummeling blast beats. The song shifts between speed and slow-paced tempos brimming with monochromatic dissonance.
The album is comprised of twelve tracks that explore some potent dynamics, Altarage emphasizes intensity where the guitars create a bleak, claustrophobic atmosphere. ‘Succumb‘ is professionally crafted with a horrific vocal delivery. The abrupt drums contraction on ‘Lavath‘ is brought by an excessive momentum of crushing brutality. There are plenty of breakdowns among the songs whereas the guitars provide a monochromatic intensity. The thick layers of the droning guitars display bleak quality which again adds a doomy effect to tracks like ‘Forja’.
As to the sonic palette, the band manages to convey a sophisticated blend of overwhelming speed and dreadful soundscapes exhibited on ‘Inwards‘. Fans who are familiar with the band’s previous releases will likely encounter an ugly hybrid of extreme death metal madness. Despite the songs having different compositions ‘Succumb‘ gives the fans a striking and unusual, sonic brutality. Tracks like ‘Vour Concession‘ and the final mammoth track ‘Devorador de mundos‘ are prime examples of solid creativity.
Proceeding with a lengthy and hellish ambiance of intense performance, the track is built on droning riffage, inhuman growls, and disharmonious rhythms. Twisting and turning things to their favor Altarage‘s fourth album is a discordant symphony to your hellish nightmares. In spite of the sudden shifts in tempo and the straightforward pummeling, the album is fairly balanced by acute dynamics and a semi-doom metal orientation. Highly recommended for fans of Vassafor, Portal and Abyssal.
Release Date: April 23rd, 2021
Label: Season of Mist Underground Activists
- Negative Arrival
- Magno Evento
- Drainage Mechanism
- Watcher Witness
- Fair Warning
- Vour Concession
- Devorador de mundos