Sunday, October 4, 2015

CD Review: ALTARIUM/ABERRATION NEXUS The Altar Of Extinction by Dave Wolff

The Altar Of Extinction
Perish Twice Music
Both of the acts appearing on this split release are one-man projects from Australia, Altarium being dark ambient, Aberration Nexus being black metal. I remember my first exposure to Australian black metal was Bestial Warlust; what hooked me about them was the conviction that band brought to their music. Here it’s more or less the same. Aberration Nexus’ career has been modest since Chris Meyer (instruments/programming/vocals) first founded it. From 2011 to the present he has released a demo, two singles and an EP (most of their stuff can be heard on his Bandcamp page). Jack Power’s (synth/programming) Altarium is more secretive; doubtless this is intentional to attract listeners. So far I’ve only found pages on Facebook and Youtube as web sources. However, Altarium’s Facebook page offers a bio and list of releases from 2012 to the present including a demo, several splits and a full length or two. A split release is a fitting move for both musicians involved as their material serves as point and counterpoint to one another and alternate from track to track. Bands usually present their songs back to back on a split so this is something new. The first selection by Altarium opens with single keyboard notes that call forth imagery of a vast landscape where perpetual darkness settles over an endless, empty horizon. From beneath these effects emerges guitar effects, more keyboards and a sound likened to stone grinding on stone, suggesting some malevolent energy rising from the ground. As an intro it really captures the essence of black metal. The following track by Aberration Nexus is dark, haunting and ethereal with vocals like fingernails tearing at the inside of a coffin. Those vocals are really disturbing and contribute much to the overall effect. Meyer’s material presented the same sense of ancient mystery I got from listening to Immortal, Satyricon and Ancient when I first got into Norwegian black metal. It was much like rediscovering those dark lands, and the material had more than enough originality to stand on its own. In the cuts that followed the keyboards and atmospheric guitars added greatly to this theme, as did the fluctuating moods created by Altarium. Aberration Nexus’s abilities seemed to reveal themselves more as the split progressed, especially where Meyer’s symphonic abilities are concerned. All this in the space of thirty-plus minutes makes for a lasting impression and reinforce the purpose of black metal as a whole. -Dave Wolff

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