With the soaring popularity of the latest albums by Crypt Sermon and Khemmis, the stage seems well set for the advent of Among the Ruins, the new album by Finland’s Altar of Betelgeuze. It’s set for release by Transcending Obscurity Records on March 10, and today we bring you the premiere of its immersive title track.
Altar of Betelgeuze consists of bassist and growler Matias Nastolin (Decaying), guitarist and clean vocalist Olli “Otu” Suurmunne (ex-Decaying), guitarist Juho Kareoja, and drummer Aleksi Olkkola (Sclerosis, ex-Cardinals Folly). Their first album, an excellent one named Darkness Sustains the Silence, was released by the Memento Mori label in early 2014.
“Among the Ruins” is almost 10 minutes long and it weaves a deep and lasting spell. The opening moments of the song, isolated notes trace an alluring melodic pattern and fix it in the listener’s mind through repetition. As the full band come into the picture, they begin to elaborate upon, and change, that melodic pattern while increasing the song’s intensity, and its crushing impact, by several orders of magnitude. And as they do that, the atmosphere of the song grows increasingly sinister and unsettling even as it becomes more and more mesmerizing.
As on their last album, Altar of Betelgeuze make effective use of a vocal tandem who alternate in the title track, moving between deep, harsh growls and high, clean vocals the soar skyward in impressive fashion. The combination of those contrasting styles is reflected as well in the music, which combines elements of stoner doom with the heaviness of death metal.
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