My guess is that Altarage just aren’t fans of people in general. Not in the way I claim to dislike people when I’m hungover on an early Monday morning, but in the I-wouldn’t-mind-if-humanity-just-totally-ceased-existing kind of way. One listen to their third LP The Approaching Roar(Season of Mist) is all I needed to feel convinced that Altarage doesn’t care for me or my eardrums.
The Approaching Roar even feels likes an understatement of a title. There’s no melody, beautiful choruses or acoustic breaks to be found on this desert of conventional song. Guitars, bass and drums are so dialed in the mix that even the guttural vocals can be difficult to hear in the heat of playing. On cheerful little ditties like ‘Hieroglyphic Certainty’ and ‘Sighting’ it appears that this obscure Basque outfit wants to confidently lay claim to having the heaviest and most abrasive musical work of 2019. And it is only January.
For further review, indulge in the earth rumbling and water displacing sonic fury of ‘Inhabitant.’ It may take about a minute to get fully warmed up, but once it’s in full swing it’s heavier than Chris Christie piloting a Lincoln Navigator that’s carrying an explosive payload of 400 Big Macs. This maniacal devotion to stacking on as many decibels as humanly possible may come across as total musical disorder, but notice the subtle drum fills in ‘Werbuild’ and you’ll understand that even at the wildest times Altarage keeps it hands on the wheel.
I highly enjoyed The Approaching Roar because it has got the stones to try to blow every band out of the extreme waters and a savage habit of not compromising. And yes, I totally understand that’s the same reason why many folks won’t be able to appreciate it. Maybe Altarage is the band that can finally claim the title of being too extreme.
8 / 10