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Altarage – The Approaching Roar


Last Updated on 07:09 PM by Giorgos Tsekas

Genre: Death Metal
Country: Spain
Label: Season of Mist
Year: 2019

Other than Teitanblood, who come to mind instantaneously, I usually have a hard time thinking of active Spanish death or black metal bands. In the recent years, another act has been added to the country’s high-level extremity list, and that is Altarage from Bilbao. They have had two fine albums in 2016 and 2017, they are also shrouded in mystery as who they are and share a similar aesthetic of total black / covered faces as it happens with the more popular side of black metal of our era.

The third album The Approaching Roar, released once again by a solid label like Season of Mist, gives the same feeling of nausea as some previous material by the band, and it is by no means a death metal album that would reside in the comfort zone of the genre’s fans. It is structured in a clear non-linear way, with hard hitting riffs that evoke a claustrophobic atmosphere similar to only few acts in the scene. Altarage build their ideas around a certain brew of guitar lines that could remind a bit of Ulcerate, maybe a slighter version of Portal (nothing will ever reach these guys), and at times, even Artificial Mind came to mind a bit.

They nicely accommodate sparse grooves in between the harder parts in their tracks, while the sound of the album is loud and clear enough to get the message across. The Approaching Roar exerts high levels of pressure when it gets in beast mode, as the instrumentation is merciless, and the vocals feature top-notch deep growls.

Tracks like “Hieroglyphic Certainty” and “Knowledge”, which are also among the short compositions in the record, show exactly this. Apart from these moments, the drawback of The Approaching Roar is the more silent parts, which mostly consist of repetitive interludes, or dark ambient lines, kind of waste all the momentum of the album and that is when everything stagnates a bit. Good examples of this are the introduction of “Urn”, which could have been avoided, as well as a middle part in “ChaworosSephelln” or how the track “Inhabitant” closes.

The idea to use tools like that is not out of point at all, yet the execution lacks. If they had replaced those parts with noise passages, like they used in the introduction of “Engineer”, The Approaching Roar might have been a true beast of an album. In my ears, this is a minor mistake anyway since this whole effort is overly amazing and powerful. It is definitely one of the good samples for solid death metal for the year so far and Altarage show again, as they have shown, that they don’t play around.


The gate of the cavern is despair, and its floor is paved with the gravestones of abandoned hopes. There Self must die; there the eagerness, the greed of untamed desire must be slain, for only so can the soul be freed from the empire of Fate.

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