Altareth – Blood
Reviewed: December 2021
Released: 2021, Magnetic Eye Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
In the supporting press bio for their full length debut BLOOD, Swedish doom fanatics Altareth cite everyone from Sabbath, Candlesmass, Pallbearer, St. Vitus, and even fellow countrymen Bathory as creative inspiration, so it’s little wonder that the album’s 7 tracks bear resemblances to many of the genre’s heaviest hitters. But 1) the band owns up to it, and 2) it’s still quality stuff.
Most of the album is rooted in slow burn, low end molasses riffs and paired with Magic Paddy’s wailing vocal harmonies. Think if Lord Vicar, Electric Wizard, and Windhand all had a tryst and made a doom metal baby and then put that baby up for adoption, it’d probably sound something like Altareth. At worst, those “sounds like this band/that band” moments can distract from BLOOD’s more distinctive qualities, and at best tracks like “Satan Hole” with its brass horn accompaniments and the feverish despondence of the title track demonstrate real originality within familiar constraints.
Altareth may not be breaking any new ground here, but they know what they like and they do it pretty well. Listening to BLOOD multiple times, the thought I keep coming back to is that it’s a comfortable record. Clearly crafted and curated by fans of the doom genre, the tunes flow seamlessly and confidently, making repeated spins a low maintenance and enjoyable experience. And isn’t that what we’re all chasing in this hopeless void we call life?