Altarage
The Approaching Roar


4.0
excellent

Review

by ramon. CONTRIBUTOR (47 Reviews)
January 27th, 2019 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chaos.

Three albums in three years is no easy feat, especially when your biggest musical inspiration is one of the most esoteric and bewilderingly technical bands to ever grace the metal scene. Altarage have long been dubbed Spain’s response to Portal, but they have never quite been able to reach the dizzying heights of murk-death tomfoolery in records like Swarthe or Outre. For as much as I adore Nihl and its impenetrable atmosphere, the production felt just as much an attempt at hiding some fairly uninteresting motifs as it was a way to bolster thick ‘n’ chunky death metal street cred. Endinghent brough the riffs but dropped the one thing Nihl had in way of individuality; that being the oppressive aura. Almost in rebellion to Portal’s decision to shed some murk in lieu of being as technically perplexing as is possible, Altarage amped up the riffing tenfold and filtered out anything that wasn’t explicitly the height of chthonic filth. Like Nessie rising from the loch, The Approaching Roar is about as confounding as it is terrifying given you are close enough to witness it.

The opening seconds of “Sighting” are a bit cheeky. I don’t think you could convincingly fool anyone that they weren’t about to listen to something a little extreme given the melodic discordance but it is an understatement to say that the jump from a clean solo guitar passage to what comes next is fairly large. I might have slipped a nervous fart at the sheer weight of dissonant rampage that burst forth without a moment’s notice the first time I put this track on. Maybe the compounding effect of my own stench and the blast-driven fury that took place might have hyperbolised my initial experience, but on repeat playthroughs I’ve come to notice the band has done something here that compensates for the (arguable) gimmick of suffocatingly beefed production enough that I’m still pretty damn stoked. Rather than a half-and-half of open notes and doomy nothingness found on Nihl, almost every track on The Approaching Roar is packed to the rafters with some fairly technical guitar work. You might still need a seismometer to discern anything resembling melody from everything else but it is definitely clear that the band isn’t just invoking Cthulhu through the bass amp.

I’m actually quite surprised at how this thing is produced. Not “how well” necessarily, just “how”. Everything is on the absolute edge of falling apart. At full speed, the band almost seems to be actively trying to launch the cymbals and snares into a frequency void but remarkably nothing ever seems to get completely lost in the mix. While I personally think this was something they nailed in Nihl, here everything is ramped up to 11 so it honestly doesn’t really make much sense to me how anything is audible at all. That being said, I don’t feel fatigued. The mean average chaos level for The Approaching Roar is nuclear fallout so anything that doesn’t sound expressly like a plight of humanity’s downfall feels like the most jacked form of respite. The one-two kneecapping of “Hieroglyphic Certainty” and “Cyclopean Clash” is followed by two tracks that, while at their most Altarage-y are just as crushing, are about as composed as is possible for the band. “Inhabitant” has a bridge that I can only really describe as awe-inspiring, reminding me heavily of Artificial Brain’s “Bastard Planet” in an “oh fook mum aliens are real” kind of way. “Chaworos Sephelln” might be the pinnacle of calm before the storm; its tribalistic build making way for some impressively unnerving riff work.

The spiraling riff that caps off the album in “Engineer” feels nigh impossibly heavy. It is a brief affair but it gets the job done. A few inhuman growls. Some pounding drums. The guitars almost seem to bust open a crack in spacetime, drawing forth the souls of every dead HM-2 in existence like some non-euclidean fuzz vortex to surpass metal gear with the sole purpose of fucking up the ozone layer. It’s kinda all a bit wonderful, really. Spain; a bountiful land of spiced chicken and red cards is becoming just as known by some for its bevy of bulging, brutal space overlords. Altarage aren’t exactly breaking the conditioning with individual components of this record, but the sum of all parts truly is something remarkable. More remarkable still is the projected path the band has formed in the years leading up to this. Hell hath no fury like The Approaching Roar, so I shudder to think what’s in store next.



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user ratings (37)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2019


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is ridiculous

https://altarage.bandcamp.com/album/the-approaching-roar

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2019


15043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fuck YES my man. I was writing smth up for this and it was shite, so glad to see you popped it.



The album is a beast. Love it. And this comes from someone that is not much into Portal & co.

Digging: Elizabeth Colour Wheel - Nocebo

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2019


2799 Comments


This doesn't look much like a Ramon review. It sure as hell smells like one, though. Fantastic work.

Digging: Angel Du$t - Pretty Buff

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2019


9384 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Imma join in here, excellent job Ramon

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
January 27th 2019


3185 Comments


Only dearest Ramon would describe a murky dm album as "cheeky", mindpos

Album is good but new Noctambulist is better

TheNotrap
January 27th 2019


9846 Comments


Yeah Noctambulist is great, the album deserves a nice staff review

Digging: Venom Prison - Samsara

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2019


15043 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gotta check that one then.

Papa Universe
January 27th 2019


20096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

unimpressed. then again, it is better than their previous bore

Digging: Pedigree - New Freak

RustCohle
January 27th 2019


252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is on point, album is amazing.

Digging: Sinmara - Hvsl Stjarnanna

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2019


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers lovelies

to be fair, new noctambulist is better than the last ulcerate record so that’s a bit of an unfair comparison!

the papaaaaaaaaaaaa / the papa *jewish music*

Papa Universe
January 27th 2019


20096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Damn shmucks ain't worth a shekel, bub!

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2019


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

owo vey goy :3

Papa Universe
January 27th 2019


20096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ayayay

Azog
January 27th 2019


119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Altarage finally got their shit together. This thing destroys!

SowingSeason
Moderator
January 28th 2019


29859 Comments


"I might have slipped a nervous fart at the sheer weight of dissonant rampage"
"Maybe the compounding effect of my own stench and the blast-driven fury"

Seriously?
Good review otherwise.

Tchitcherine
January 28th 2019


184 Comments


I like it, weird energy and perfect background music for grim tabletop rpg boss fights

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
January 28th 2019


2957 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

say it to my face, swong

that sounds like some intense dungeon crawling that I am completely on board with

Azog
January 30th 2019


119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This thing gets better and better, with every god damn spin.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
January 31st 2019


24951 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

v nice review, v nice record

Digging: Akasha - Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity

Hawks
January 31st 2019


68337 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I’m on this tonight.

Digging: Venom Prison - Samsara



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