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Altar of Betelgeuze - "Among the Ruins" (CD)

Altar of Betelgeuze - "Among the Ruins" CD cover image

"Among the Ruins" track listing:

1. The Offering
2. Sledge of Stones
3. No Return
4. New Dawn
5. Absence of Light
6. Advocates of Deception
7. Among the Ruins

Reviewed by on April 3, 2017

"Altar of Betelgeuze is self-described as a stoner doom / death metal band but the sound is more complex than that and that’s what makes them stand out from other doom/stoner/death metal bands."

I’ll admit it, when I saw the name of the band, Altar of Betelgeuze, I raised an eyebrow. Moving on from the unique spelling of this band’s name, and after a few listens to second full-length album “Among the Ruins," I think I “get them.” Altar of Betelgeuze is self-described as a stoner doom / death metal band but the sound is more complex than that and that’s what makes the group stand out from other doom/stoner/death metal bands.

One of the reasons why they stand out in the overpopulated doom genre are the mid-range vocals. They have this Chris Cornell feel to them that really goes well with the doomy passages like Gibson SG’s go well with stoner metal. In fact, the song “Sledge of Stones” has a very grungy/Soundgarden feel to it. This isn’t a bad thing at all but rather breathes life into a stoner/doom genre that seems to have more duds than winners nowadays. Altar of Betelgeuze also employs death metal style vocals and they are laced throughout several of the songs, but if you ask me, they aren’t really complimentary to their sound…the mid-range vocals are the real winner here.

True to the doom genre, the songs are a bit longer and they feel fine this way. The riffing doesn’t get stagnant with the same chord being banged on for dozens of minutes on end and the progressions keep it interesting as well. Hell, there’s even some nifty lead work being showcased on a few of songs!

If I had to name my favorite song on the album, it would be the title track, “Among the Ruins.” The song showcases all of the “stoner doom / death metal” descriptors in under ten minutes without losing or putting the listener to sleep. I definitely will be looking for more offerings from this altar as they progress their sound.

Highs: The mid-range vocals, it’s a refreshing twist for the genre.

Lows: The death metal vocals, they really don’t compliment this sound.

Bottom line: I get the feeling that Altar of Betelgeuze is still refining this sound, but this album proves the band is onto something unique and quite special.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)