By Dr. Abner Mality

I guess there must be a market for this stuff somewhere. Labels seem to be falling over each other to sign super-dissonant death metal bands that operate on a level of warped distortion previously unknown to the genre. I put it in the same basket as deathcore, myself. A super-trendy race to be as noisy as humanly possible and about as honest and heartfelt as a record by Babymetal.

I’ve encountered Spain’s masked Altarage before and it wasn’t a pleasant meeting. Neither is this. Their production budget has gone up considerably for “Endinghent”, which means their unlistenable noise is now better produced. First track “Incessant Magma” basically sounds like they threw a pile of industrial pipe into a washing machine and hit “spin” for four minutes. I guess I’m getting old. I have no use for it. It doesn’t seem to make any kind of musical sense. Actual riffs and rhythms appear on “Spearheadron” which is a marginal relief, but it’s still a wearying and ultimately boring listen. Ulcerate fans will flip their shit over this, though.

There are brief moments when things seem to work, like the slower, doomier parts of “Weighteer”, for example. But they are few and far between. The ultra-dissonant, repetitive and math-like opening of “Rift” is much more the norm. I suspect pretentious lovers of avant-garde guitar scraping will be impressed.

I can forgive many musical sins in heavy music, but boredom is not one of them. I just cannot fathom what the audience of bands like Altarage are looking for.