Altarage - Succumb
Season Of Mist
Experimental Death Metal
12 songs (1:03:16)
Release year: 2021
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

After creeping out listeners with 2019's excellent The Approaching Roar, mysterious Spaniards Altarage return with a fourth full-length from their mere five year existence. And it's a continuance from its hostile predecessor, the only steps away thankfully being having none of the experiments in inducing tinnitus in listeners. It keeps the best aspects of it and builds on them, the sense that you're listening to dense, airless death metal violence as arranged by some fearsome alien intelligence altogether removed from humanity consistent across the album as tracks flow in and out of each other seamlessly. Succumb opens as though continuing the transmission from The Approaching Roar, intro Negative Arrival a glitchy, noisy barrage of sound that is shudderingly intense. The following Magno Evento continues this into almost blackened territory, the barest remaining hint of Morbid Angel influence acting as a last desperate SOS before being swallowed by riff worship and chaotic soloing.

Generally the atmospheric impact remains incredible to the point where those Portal comparisons are still very valid, from the grinding riffs that transcend mere grooviness to some bleaker, darker musical register (Maneuvre eg), to the random twists and turns in pretty much every track present to keep the listener unsteady. And although the Meshuggah-as-translated-into-cyborg moments from the previous album are still there, it's interesting that they are limited to certain points such as the trippy Watcher Witness rather than expanded upon and used as hooks as it would surely have been easy to do. Even in that track the groove is a by-product rather than the point, particularly with some of those upshifts in tempo that would be devastating were the Swedes to embrace them!

There are so many more moments that seize your attention away from mere "oh that bit sounds like Meshuggah" distractions. Some of the shorter pieces here are the most interesting, from actual song Inwards which is a deathgrind pummelling of the usual formula cut into two minutes plus of sheer hatred, to the bizarre Fair Warning, which is an interlude that actually works in its role of breaking up the album and wrongfooting the listener. The band are quickly proving themselves genius at structuring their releases, knowing what works well alongside, say, a torrential crushing downpour of wrath like Lavath with its dips into funeral doom tempo. There are exactly zero weak tracks present, the likes of Foregone shifting between ominous Neurosis-esque pounding, almost infectious riffing, and punishing outpourings incredibly well. And after all this, the band gift us with the closing twenty-one minute outro Devorador de Mundos, opening with more funeral doom punishment and developing into a genuinely interesting piece of noisy ambience. Even if you're not the sort to embrace a 20 minute chunk of hostile ambience, there's still forty minutes-plus of intense, dense death metal here, a crushing reminder of why Altarage made a name for themselves in the first place. Succumb, and enjoy.

Killing Songs :
Magno Evento, Foregone, Drainage Mechanism, Lavath
Goat quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Altarage that we have reviewed:
Altarage - The Approaching Roar reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Altarage - MMXV reviewed by Charles and quoted no quote
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