By Dr. Abner Mality
The gloomy spirit of WINDHAND hovers over this Swedish band like a thick fog. I doubt if even ALTARETH themselves would deny it. That’s not such a bad thing, because I can never get enough down-tuned sludgy doom metal with ethereal melodies. And WINDHAND themselves haven’t been too active the last couple of years, so ALTARETH are definitely filling a gap.
If you dig slow moving glaciers of oozing, bass-saturated guitar riffs, this is definitely a band for you. They have that massive tone down pat and it’s in every tune. Tracks like “Satan Hole” and “High Priest” drip into your brain like the best WINDHAND tunes and yes, fans of SLEEP and ELECTRIC WIZARD are also gonna dig ALTARETH. Paddy Stromberg’s creepy lead vocals are redolent of early Ozzy and also Zeeb from WITCHFINDER GENERAL, but no match for the sheer eeriness of Dorthea from WINDHAND...but then, who is?
Tracks like “Downward Mobile” and “Empty” have some low key gloom in an almost post-metal direction in addition to the doomy crush, but make no mistake, ALTARETH is all about the down tuned doom. I can’t say these guys really have their own voice, but I still like what they’re about and if you like the other bands mentioned above, you’re gonna feel the same.