With the ultra-impressive “First Plague” having drawn justifiable comparisons with the likes of Ved Buens Ende, it’s great to see that Altar of Plagues have refused to sit on their laurels.
With a will to remain genuinely challenging, ‘Through the Cracks of the Earth’ is a distinct progression, seeing the band test the waters with a muddier production and wider, more varied vocals. The superb drumming and jangling rhythms of ‘First Plague’ remain; when coupled with the bands droning ambience and increased dissonance, a bleak and brutal weight is added to some savage BM riffs – ‘I am the Offering’ being a prime example.
Furthermore, there seems to be a certain depth to each of the songs, most evident in the tumultuous extension of ‘Skies Apart’. It’s here that the newer vocal approach really pays off, with a desperate style almost unheard of in the genre lifting the tune to a ferocious level. The movement to a deeper hue of dirge suits Altar of Plagues entirely, and offers yet more promise for the future.
– Kev Tracey ::: 08/07/07