Altar of Oblivion
Barren Grounds
(Shadow Kingdom Records)

Denmark’s Altar of Oblivion forges a sort of colossal and brisk-as-ice musical architecture. Every steep angle is clean and long and whistles like a boomerang. You drink pints to this stuff. Head bang to lyrics and riffs as clear as the eternal night. Get sentimental in the progressive landscapes of yesteryear. The band’s newest power-nest of a record, Barren Grounds—released September 30 on Shadow Kingdom—has a bones and dust old-timey metal feel to it, but breaks all barriers with its contemporary perspective.

“State of Decay” chugs a wicked one, with space and a calming approach. These guys aren’t in any rush to destroy you; rather, they pick you up for a heady ship ride across the vast ocean of righteous heavy metal. To be sure, this form has been done before, a million times over, but Altar of Oblivion has a special little alchemy to them. They hear Sabbath, hear the grunge doom of Seattle, the force of Candlemass, and the classic patterns of Uriah Heep, and fully breathe through their own lungs, a special and magical take.

“Barren Grounds” positions you in the fantasy: swirling and swift. Bits of tasteful synths sneak behind massive crunch, layering psychedelic dreams—and then more riffs, thunder drums, and vocals from Mik Mentor that soar and dance a poetic circle. Epic stuff.

Altar of Oblivion dive with straight passion and a real solid sensibility; they know who they are, know which solar system they position towards, and mix the metals and wooden grass of a witches stew all to their own liking. Barren Grounds is a killer record. It sounds wide and fills your whole appetite with solid stratification. So pick this thing up (you can even grab it on cassette tape), and play some chess while slugging some sludgy craft brew amongst the candlelight while giving it a rage over.

Purchase Barren Grounds here.

4-half-stars

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