Spain’s Altarage released one of the best black metal albums last year with the abyssal and dissonant debut album Nihl. Wasting no time in returning to further purvey their sonic terror, a scant year and a half later they’re back with their sophomore effort Endinghent, another piece of sonic insanity.
Altarage have one of the most pristine sounds in the dissonant black metal scene, where every instrument is a cog in a perfectly constructed machine designed for nothing else than blackened violence. With tight musicianship to boot they attack with dissonant riffs in a wall of sound on Incessant Magma, a gaseous poison cloud of caustic sound. Despite being so strange and angular, the riffs are memorable and it’s not just dissonant for the sake of it, they’re well crafted and add to a sense of unease as they churn slowly before bursting forth with speed, the drums are practically machinegun like in their precison. The vocals are more prominent than on the debut album, tortured drawn out howls and growls that sound perfectly bestial and aggressive against the churning sound they create.
The album seems more like one long track with different parts of a monolithic whole, though one does get the sense of different ideas they’re working with. Whether the almost industrial churning of Speaheadron, the psychedelic madness of Rift, the bass-driven groove on Orb Terrax’s intro, or the oppressive darkness in the slower moments of Barrier, they’re just different parts of the crazed labyrinth that Altarage have created for you to get lost in. Underestimate Endinghent at your own peril. Comparisons to Nihl are redundant, they’re both spectacular albums from an enigmatic and unique bands in a sea of similar dissonant/abyssal sounding bands.