Altus Astrum - _Antediluvian_
(Pest Productions, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (7.5 out of 10)
Altus Astrum, meaning the Highest Star, referring to Lucifer the light bringer, is the Latin name of an Irish band to whom _Antediluvian_ would be a debut album.

With biblical, Lovecraftian and medieval references, Altus Astrum's _Antediluvian_ grows on you like cancer; behind its ugly, noisy, messy, filthy, crude facade, lurks something different that unfolds during the listening sessions. At the beginning the band goes to lengths in order to alienate the listener with its wild, seemingly under-produced whirlwind of buzzes and blows, distancing the audience from this ugly, ugly music; this creates an illusion the music offers nothing, being an empty shell of mephitic resonance and nothing more. Boy, how far removed the illusion is from the truth...

...Using old to create absolutely new, the band utilizes classic sounds, instruments, approaches; twists and turns them, warps and straightens them up again, creating in the process its own, singular dark world of nightmares upon nightmares.

From the black/death metal aesthetics rises this new beast; corrosive, violent, hateful and potent. It finds loopholes and breaches through which is sips its poison by ways of twisted melody, sweet and thick and sick. The metallic parts at times give way to the second beast's head, its melodious character, the atmosphere inducer, the mystery generator of the album.

From straightforward metallic onslaught of thrashing blackened death metal, through depressive metallic rock, all the way to neoclassical segments, the music here is highly varied, a fact that will be dawning on the listener further down the hill. You might want to be patient with this album and walk with it the distance, as it will reward this patience. The mystique and allure of this album are undeniable but you'll need to explore and let this fact sink in before you realize this charred charcoal is actually a diamond -- unpolished probably, but undeniably a diamond, and due to it being so diverse in rhythms, styles and sounds, there's always something in this album for anyone with a morbid taste in extreme metal, into that a good taste nonetheless.

Altus Astrum's music is avantgarde in terms of compiling the major aesthetics of the metallic sound under one roof, and just flying on the wings of imagination, making it part of the creative process, resulting in a hostile yet euphonious, multi-faceted yet somehow monolithic album. The somber yet very rock 'n' roll-ish attitude of the recording is great; the ambient preludes and interludes complement the music; they darken the plot and offer a relief from the hostile maelstrom.

The excellent semi-biblical lyrics written in good English are intellectually inclined; they shine through the hazy and gray cloud of both the booklet where they are printed and the music which they infuse with a meaning and a content, lending the sounds a profound intellectual and religious aura. These texts, flaked with Latin, darken further the music with an ancient, iniquitous vibe. Iniquitous and primitive; primitive yet experimental; experimental yet straightforward; non-monolithic yet comprised of a unified, indivisible punishing tool of transcendence.

Recommending this album would be hard; it is not for everyone. It is challenging and at times highly intelligent. Its structure is askew and not of the conventional type; its melodies removed from being immediate and pronounced. This is one of those albums that require mandatory multiple listening sessions so one could capture all the hidden treasures buried within, allowing the mind to integrate all the seemingly scattered components, to mentally accumulate them and then extrapolate a single, pure, beautiful creature of darkness...


(article published 1/11/2011)

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