Saturday, 6 May 2017

Altar of Betelgeuze - Among The Ruins (Album Review)

Release date: April 15th 2017. Label: Transcending Obscurity Records. Format: CD/DD

Among The Ruins – Tracklisting

1.The Offering 05:17
2.Sledge of Stones 05:19
3.No Return 08:24
4.New Dawn 05:56
5.Absence of Light 07:11
6.Advocates of Deception 07:17
7.Among the Ruins 09:46


Matias Nastolin - Bass, Vocals (growling)
Olli "Otu" Suurmunne - Guitars, Vocals (clean singing)
Juho Kareoja - Guitars
Aleksi Olkkola - Drums


Altar of Betelgeuze (AOB) return with another round of their Death Metal inspired take of Stoner/Doom Metal. Their new album - Among The Ruins - is the bands second album and it's a thrilling and genuinely exciting encounter that is packed full of great surprises. The vocals drift from clean vocals to the heavier distorted death based growls. The album has quite a subtle heavy metal feel with elements of psychedelic riffs thrown in.

Opening track - The Offering - shows you what AOB are all about. Powerful riffs, great vocals and crazy Doom/Stoner Metal theatrics all held together by a bleak Death/Thrash Metal vibe. It shouldn't really work but AOB manage to pull off the impossible and create a highly intriguing concept. I remember listening to their debut album a few years ago and being impressed with most parts of the album but it felt slightly flat in places. AOB have nothing to worry about this time around as the album is a winner from start to finish.

The instrumental work is superb from the start with a fine balance between Doom/Stoner Metal riffs and the harsh Death/Thrash mentality running throughout the album. The lyrics are quite bleak at different parts of the album though AOB do manage to show some lighter moments as well especially on the superb second track - Sledge Of Stones.

Sledge Of Stones has a psychedelic/grunge vibe as the vocals are reminiscent of Soundgarden and Nirvana at times. A totally different contrast to the opening track. That's one of the most impressive aspects about this album. AOB's experimentation with the whole flow and delivery of the album is perhaps their greatest strength as you are treated to different moods and riffs that shouldn't really work but in AOB's hands they do.

The production of the album is superb for the most part. There are a few rough moments here and there but nothing to stop you enjoying this album. Other great songs to listen to are: No Return, Absence Of Light and Among The Ruins. Obviously this album won't be for everyone. It all depends how you like your favourite musical genres being spliced with a more extreme style of music. Or your favourite extreme style of music being spliced with slightly less heavier genres.

I feel that AOB have created the perfect balance between the light and dark moments held on the album. Among The Ruins is an album that should entertain both the extreme metal crowd and the Doom/Stoner Metal community. My final thoughts on Among The Ruins are that's a truly inventive album and one that I will no doubt be listening to in the years to come.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Transcending Obscurity Records for the promo. Among The Ruins is available to buy now.