Altar of Plagues – Mammal

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Reviewed: June 2011
Released: 2011, Candlelight Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: UK Team

Mammal is the second album from the Irish based, ambient black metal band ‘Alter of Plagues’. With only 4 tracks I was mistaken thinking this was an EP, but with the songs between 8-13 minutes long, this album really does take you on an interesting journey.

They use a great combination of ambiance and noise whilst keeping within the black metal screams. The lyrics are intense focusing on the concept of Death, showing a lot of emotion within the vocals. There are a few twists to this album including a rather eerie intro/outro to ‘When the Sun Drowns in the Ocean’ with the sound of an elderly woman singing in Gaelic; apparently it’s an old recording of an old Irish custom of ‘keening’ over open graves, which I found to be pretty creepy!

Altar of Plagues isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste and if you enjoy constant hard heavy riffs and your black metal loud then you’re better off giving this one a miss. Although there are some impressive drumming going on & guitar riffs that keep you engaged throughout, there is an element of Doom metal to their sound. There is no denying this band have talent, but I can imagine there being mixed reviews on this one.

I personally really enjoyed this album; it’s definitely one to be listened to alone to really appreciate the gloomy atmosphere of these rather dark, but unique tracks. This album is more ambient, relaxing and something I would probably listen to whilst falling asleep, which is fine with me.

Reviewer: Jo Blackened


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Track Listing:
01 Neptune is Dead
02 Feather and Bone
03 When the Sun Drowns in the Ocean
04 All Life Converges to Some Center

J. Kelly – Guitars, Vocals, Synth
D. Condon – Bass, Vocals
J. Spillane – Guitars
S. MacAnri – Percussion