Altarage
Succumb


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
April 27th, 2021 | 45 replies


Release Date: 04/23/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Regurgitating nothingness

Since its overwhelming 2016 debut, Nihl, enigmatic power trio Altarage has been one of the dissonant powerhouses to be reckoned with. With a Portal-inspired signature sound that blends death and black metal in a discordant formula, the Basque lads have been showing above-average consistency, both musically and conceptually. This stylistic coherence stems from the fact that Altarage was built on solid foundations from the start, with clear creative purposes. If we take a closer look at the band's first three albums, we notice that despite the evident link between them the collective has been taking an increasingly abstract approach. This subtle mutation becomes evident when comparing songs like 'Graehence' or 'Batherex' with 'Sighting', for example. The musical structure has become progressively more chaotic, blurred, and challenging. There are no significant aesthetic disruptions or deviations, but the mutation is nonetheless noticeable. It is these small changes that enrich the narrative while making the band's portfolio more exciting, and I, as a keen listener, have come to enjoy this creative journey, to the point of considering Altarage as one of the most reliable and relevant extreme metal acts in recent years.

Oddly enough, the first thing that triggered my interest in Succumb was its visual nature, namely the cover that ceases to be monochromatic like previous artworks. While that may seem like a minor detail, this kind of disruption never happens by chance. The introduction of color in Altarage's palette symbolizes the desire to broaden the creative spectrum. This artistic ambition manifests itself in different ways throughout the album, either through the uncomfortable abrupt cuts on 'Negative Arrival' or via the corrosive 21-minute closing track that sees the band exploring oppressive atmospheres like never before. The sludgy section in 'Vour Concession' or the Slayer-ish riff in 'Inwards' also bring some unexpected orthodoxy to the hermetic songwriting, giving it more catchiness and overall accessibility. There is a sense of experimentation throughout Succumb, or at least a willingness to add new nuances to the band's DNA. The brief chaotic solo in 'Magno Event' is another example of this urge to explore new grounds. However, despite these subtle mutations, Altarage's backbone remains essentially unchanged, as it should be. The colossal wall of sound has lost none of its overwhelming power, and the individual signature of each musician stays untouched, whether it be the massive dissonant riffs, the deranged vocals, or the mighty drumming.

Of this relentless set of songs, 'Magno Event', 'Drainage Mechanism' and 'Watcher Witness' are among my personal highlights, the former being undoubtedly one of the best tracks the band has ever recorded. Altarage's trademark sound that swings between doom and blast beat tempos remains unaltered as does their blend of grimy tremolo picking and powerful power chords. In this sense, Succumb is the next logical step in the band's journey, avoiding repetition or creative loops. And although I believe the band could have gone even further both in terms of experimentation and sound design, Altarage's new chapter has the virtue of looking ahead without being overly attached to the past.

Succumb sees the dissonant Basque collective broaden its spectrum by reconciling experimentalism and orthodoxy. Yet behind this deceptively new polychromatic appearance lurks a nihilistic darkness that devours meaning and faith; a devourer of worlds that consumes purpose and regurgitates nothingness. Altarage's fourth installment is thus another massive soul-crushing release that solidifies the enigmatic trio as one of the leading forces in contemporary dissonant music.




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user ratings (85)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wish I had posted the review sooner, but I've been having a rough couple of days. Album rules, as expected.

Full stream:

http://youtu.be/1dAjaT3OyKE

http://altarage.bandcamp.com/album/succumb

Digging: Noctambulist - The Barren Form

Azog
April 27th 2021


539 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review hits the nail. This just may be my AOTY.

Digging: Darkthrone - Eternal Hails

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is also among my favorites of the year so far. You can't go wrong with these guys.

TheSpirit
April 27th 2021


28126 Comments


Really nice review. Only quibble is you use dissonant twice in the first two sentences and it reads a little weird. Maybe just switch to discordant for the second one? Otherwise, perf.

Digging: Saidan - Jigoku: Spiraling Chasms Of The Blackest Hell

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks ;) I missed the repetition, your suggestion sounds perfect.

combustion07
April 28th 2021


8640 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I low key want to 5 this! Without a doubt album of the year for me this far and easily one of my favorite recent discoveries band wise. Amazing stuff

Sowing
Moderator
April 28th 2021


38437 Comments


Really nice write-up as per usual. I've been trying to push into metal territory, but I'm not sure black/death/doom is the right place for me haha.

Digging: Darkside - Spiral

Lichtbringer
April 28th 2021


652 Comments


Calling these guys “Portal-inspired” is very generous. They’re a complete rip off, down to the lyrics. Extremely lame.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


24810 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Perfect review Alves ;)



Album rules, but that last 21 minute track killed me, I wouldn't have included it.

Digging: Midwife (USA) - Luminol

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys!



Cheers Dewinged

I'm a big fan of long looped atmospheres, so I like the track, especially the cross-fades, but I fully understand that many people find it excessive and somewhat monotonous.



Cheers Sowing

If you're not into dissonant extreme metal this probably isn't for you, yet I'm glad to hear you're exploring the genre. I look forward to the day when you will review a metal release passionately ;)



Nocte
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


14527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Hella great last paragraph Notrap, very on board with your review. I do also like the fact that Sowing is trying to get on board with all this great 2021 metal.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2021


10706 Comments


Awesome review dude! Gotta check this out

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks mates, I appreciate it ;)

One of these days we will get to see Sowing wearing a Maiden t-shirt. Powerslave style.



DavidYowi
April 28th 2021


1149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very big Here in After vibes from this album. I dig it so far. Great review!

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks man.

Interesting. Well, the guys do have OSDM vibes here and there. 'Watcher Witness' comes to mind.

hesperus
April 28th 2021


1213 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

i wish i could see what everyone else sees in this album, but to me this was a monotonous slog. the production job just flattens everything

trilo
April 28th 2021


3916 Comments


sick rev as always. always thought this band was p boring but seems like there might be a couple new things here. will check

Digging: Erdve - Savigaila

TheSpirit
April 28th 2021


28126 Comments


all the featured reviews are metal... brings a tear to my eye

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


14527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Sput’s a metal zine confirmed

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2021


16349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's once in a blue moon, better enjoy it while it lasts



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