A stopgap? Perhaps, but that feels a bit tactless when describing Tides, the EP follow up to last year’s monolithic White Tomb debut album. In the last 12-18 months Cork’s experimental black metal outfit Altar Of Plagues have been taken to realms unforeseen. White Tomb was released to fawning adulation from fans and critics alike and they would then sign with black metal household name label Candlelight Records. They’ve played enviable spots on Holland’s infamous Roadburn festival at the request of Tom G Warrior and have supported the likes of Isis.
This new 2 track EP, Tides is an exhaustive, meticulous jaunt through darkened and emotive musical fissures. They have eschewed much of their black metal past on this release. It’s an edging towards a carving out of their own sound, a journey that has been a breathtaking one so far. The first of the two tracks is ‘Atlantic Light’, clocking in at over 15 minutes.
Muddled riffing with distant and agonising vocals eventually slip in to a mellow and haunting passage. The air then builds back with simple but utterly enthralling lead guitar work as the roars and screams re-enter the din to devastating affect.
Harrowing echoed vocals thrusting through to throaty and raspy scream pulsate throughout second and last number ‘The Weight Of All’. There is also a relentless and impressively upheld drumming performance from start to finish.
Tides pushes some squalid and rigorous soundscapes upon you incessantly. It creates a disturbing aura, something that is becoming an expected trademark with Altar Of Plagues. While Tides doesn’t stun as much as White Tomb it is still a fully loaded, colossal monument to marvel at for long periods of time. If anything, it may just prophesise more unearthly splendour to come.