California’s Barren Altar has been working their way up to their first full length for the past five years through various EPs and a split. This June, however, will finally see the release of their proper debut.
With a moniker like theirs you might think this is some kind of Electric Wizard style, Sabbath worshipping, doomfest. From the initial chords on the opening track you would actually have reason to believe that. But once they punch down on the pedal and rack up the speed, you’ll find they probably have more than one mid-nineties Gothenburg death metal record in their collection too.
This quintet writes rather intricate, lengthy songs that easily pass the ten minute mark and cover quite some ground stylistically from beginning to end. Most of their compositions will travel from furious blasting to creepy crawls and back again. I would not call those dirge like sections funeral doom per se, but rather a really low and slow death metal, like you’ll find, for instance, with Encoffination or Incantation.
They make full use of the individual track’s outstretched timespan to slowly build tension and momentum through lengthy instrumental intros, seldom immediately going full speed for the jugular from the get go. The second track ‘Submerged’ for example is in fact a slow burning intermezzo that simply bleeds into ‘Call to the Waves’.
There are some really great ideas in their homemade brew of black, doom and death, but they still need to learn how to triage those ideas, rather than throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, all in one song.
Release date: June 12th, 2018
Label: Self released
1.Nexus of Grief
3. Call to the Waves
4.The Great Awakening of Death