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Sigurd Wongraven - Satyricon

● Frost's new drumming
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Altar Of Plagues | ‘First Plague’ Demo

The story of Ireland’s association with black metal is a more or less limited and only half satisfactory one. The problem over the years has been a lack of sophistication.

That doesn’t mean everyone trying it should be brilliant from the beginning, but the fact remains that few bothered.

Of all the reasons why Altar Of Plagues’ debut is so fulfilling, the choicest is probably this aspect of effort. They’ve clearly put a lot in, and much of it before any of them got near an instrument.

It’s a question of approach. It’s clear that they want to do something if not totally different, then at least following in the still warm footsteps of those who did. Hints at the remarkable genius of Ved Buens Ende are peppered here and there in the form of jangly, undistorted plucked chordal work.

That, as well as a vibrant approach to changing tempos, gives much to engross oneself in. And then there’s the more contemporary affectations, absorbed from the more forward thinking of the BM pack – electronics, a few minimalist soundscapes here and there, all woven in with surprising fluidity.

If they keep this quality up, there’s mileage in it for certain. Get your hands on it promptly.

– Earl Grey ::: 14/02/07

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