Altar of Plagues - _Teethed Glory and Injury_
(Profound Lore Recordings, 2013)
by: Dan Lake (9 out of 10)
Trust me: you've never heard anything like this. Think you've heard Altar of Plagues before? Maybe you have. But not -this- Altar of Plagues. Think it's all black metal given the elastic time treatment on the expansive rack of atmospheric post-rock? Not _TG+I_. Used to moody dozen-minute tetraliths weighed down with themes of imminent mortality and the world's demise? Not this time. Not sure what to think? Give it a shot. Put in some time. It's hard for this writer to believe the experience could truly disappoint anyone.

I've been told that multi-instrumentalist James Kelly has a non-metal side project called Wife (possible full-time project, now that Altar of Plagues is no longer open for business), and that the stranger elements found on _TG+I_ are sonic kin to that material. Haven't heard Wife, but now I'm intrigued.

After its ominously crafted intro piece, "Mills", _Teethed Glory and Injury_ pretends to be a black metal record. For a little while. Some tracks, like "God Alone" and "Burnt Year", unbottle some short-lived aggression, only to later tear open a little contemplative space. Other ideas eschew blasting anguish altogether and engage in more varied versions of heaviness. If Justin Broadrick himself had jammed his hooks into these tunes, he couldn't have done a better job Godfleshing them up -- _Teethed Glory and Injury_ employs the same trade-off between soul-sapping industrial machinery and hypnotizing half-melodies.

Every track here has been streamlined to between four and seven minutes (only "A Remedy and a Fever" pushes toward the nine minute mark), which shows the band's intention to showcase multiple ideas rather than force a conceptual mountain down your throat. Those ideas include black metal, but only as a textural brother among stylistic equals.

I'm having trouble describing this album in words; this is my greatest compliment. If you have the remotest interest in erratic extreme metal that dares to explore foreign territories, you should give _Teethed Glory and Injury_ your attention. This is the sort of ear damage we can whole-heartedly support.


(article published 13/10/2013)

6/26/2011 J Carbon Altar of Plagues: Moving Forward
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