Review Summary: The magnificent oak, tall and strong.
Just like a seed, Altar Of Plagues has developed into something more. It wasn’t enough to give the little seedling light; it needed moisture and a place to grow. Given time, this one time seedling will be the magnificent oak where baby birds will grow. Seasons will pass and leaves will fall, but the magnificent oak will stand, strong, proud, defiant and resolute. Altar Of Plagues 2013 record is the definition of a grower. With each and every listen, Teethed Glory and Injury becomes all the more beautiful, surpassing the bands past releases and re-affirming the group’s place on the top of the post metal scene.
Altar of Plagues was never going to be a normal metal band. Right from the debut it was pretty clear to see that this band had something different to offer, making full use of their occasional genre hashing and wide array of musical influences. Teethed Glory and Injury is a masterpiece of the black metal genre combining ambient and dark atmospheric sections with black metal stereotypes to make one hell of a listen. Put short, Teethed Glory and Injury is a ferocious return on the back of a quality first couple of releases; this shows that the band has little to less indication of losing steam. Altar of Plagues has succeeded in fully combining the black metal aesthetics with ambient styles where most acts would fail. This isn’t easy listening, Altar of Plagues have grown into a dark and fearsome black metal monster, this type of music wasn’t made for the faint hearted, instead the listener will want to do one of two things; kneel or run for your life. If you want your blackened post metal without mercy, Teethed Glory and Injury is the place to dive into this no holds bare nightmare.
At just short of fifty minutes, this record flows a little better than previous records. The song lengths in particular are rather shorter than those found on Mammal but this time around it allows the record to have a fuller, more rounded effect on the listener. Teethed Glory and Injury is a hugely dissonant affair, but each section, riff, vocal pattern and cymbal crash come together perfectly, and making sure no single entity overpowers the next. Despite the instrumental prowess of this three piece act, the album truly comes together by its use of devastatingly beautiful dissonance. Each track is a journey into a nightmare, where despair, anger, grief and pain all seem to be mentioned in one place or another. The album’s nine tracks resonate loudly with the listener, taking hold of their darker moments and in turn giving life to the inner demons that hold us all. The imagery that’s brought to life in the shape of an oak makes sense of just how this album is to be received.
Introductory track “Mills” is but one of the thought invoking songs on Teethed Glory and Injury. The soft ambient lead that’s broken only by the minimal inclusion of the bass drum and other slightly creepy effects (tapping to name one) before transforming into an almost cinematic lead in for fury invoking “God Alone”. As a whole, Teethed Glory and Injury is an emotion charged event. Tracks like “Burnt Year” and “Twelve Was Ruin” which replicates a level of fatal torment that’s not scene in many modern acts, bringing the whole album’s intensity levels up a notch. Visceral is a word that suits Altar Of Plague’s music, not only does the music have all the right elements, each section is virtually bled into to create this massive sound. Altar of Plagues has definitely improved on their experimental formula, adding differing levels of post, electronic, ambient and black metal to craft this magnificent release. Overall, Teethed Glory and Injury is an album that has pushed at the boundaries of the band. On a first listen it may not sound like much but take heed of its incredible growing power. In the world of extreme metal, few albums will be able to achieve this level of dissonant grandeur. Altar of Plagues has released the best album of their careers and while it’s still early you’re looking at a definite “Album of the Year” contender.