Altar of Betelgeuze - Echoes (2024)Release ID: 51149

Altar of Betelgeuze - Echoes (2024) Cover
Sonny Sonny / April 16, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

Altar of Betelgeuze are a finnish band playing doom metal with some death doom tendencies which hardly anyone seems to know about and even less of those who do could give a shit about. This is a great shame because I actually think they are pretty good, or at least I thought their 2014 debut album was. Unfortunately I, along with almost everyone else, missed their sophomore, 2017's Among the Ruins and now we are here, seven years, one pandemic and one european war further down the line with their latest offering, simply titled "Echoes". The album contains seven tracks, most of which fit snugly in the five to six minute bracket, with only the title track providing a longer workout at nine minutes, for a concise forty-two minute overall runtime.

Musically, Altar of Betelgeuze play a recognisable brand of finnish doom metal that is all about the riffs, which are crunchy and generally mid-paced, beefed up by a bass that follows the main thrust of said riffs fairly closely and coupled with efficient and unshowy drumming. Anyone familiar with bands like Lord Vicar, Spiritus Mortis and Cardinal's Folly should quickly be in recognisable teritory here. Where AoB depart is in the vocal department with singer Matias Nastolin, who also provides bass and some guitar, often delivering the lyrics in a deadly death metal barking growl, as opposed to the cleans of those other finnish doomsters I mentioned, unsurprisingly really, as he is also guitarist and vocalist for death metallers Decaying. This leads to them being tagged as death doom, but I think that is misleading because this is actually pretty conventional doom metal that utilises growled vocals rather than genuine death doom. The slightly quicker-paced Embrace the Flames is really the only track that approaches death doom and even then, not really.

Now, while it is certainly true that Echoes doesn't really offer anything new to the scandinavian doom metal canon, it presents some great riffs with a satisfying heaviness and memorability, a vocalist who varies his delivery and is actually an exceedingly capable singer, certainly better than a number of more well-known doom metal singers and a capable bunch of musicians whose playing provides a tightly focussed album of well-written tracks that give off a menacing and ominous atmosphere. So, if you have any love for conventional doom metal of the scandinavian variety then Echoes will definitely give you your fix of thick and heavy riffs. I mean, come on, the title track is actually a bit of a beast and I can already see the album as a whole sitting well up my list of best doom metal releases of the year.


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The Fallen
Doom Metal

Doom Metal (conventional)

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Death Doom Metal

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