Location: Portland, Oregon
Genre: Experimental post black metal
Full Length: Brahmastra
Format: Digital album
Label: Disorder Recordings
Release date: August 20, 2021
Beginning as an idea while 2020 began with the Covid-19 lockdown, Altars Of The Moon and the concept of reflecting “the vast majesty of isolation” through music was created by Uada bassist Nate Verschoor. Verschoor had a vision to shape into a chaotic storm of darkened soundscapes and given a voice to present a collective interpretation of distance and remoteness in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Watching a favorite cable TV program once, I was given the idea that when the universe ended in the distant future, and light and heat no longer existed, gravity would remain to become the dominant force. Altars Of The Moon’s full length “Brahmastra” comes across as a representation of this idea from its first moments, seemingly dislocating you from light and inexorably draw you into its complex soundscapes and sinister vocals.
For two songs comprising half an hour, “Brahmastra” feels like an eternity is crammed into that space of time, with dual bass, guitars and synthesizers ebbing and flowing and undulating like an endless ocean of serenity and chaos. Once Verschoor and Jeff Wilson of Chrome Waves and formerly of Nachtmystium constructed a turbulent vortex leading to turmoil and pandemonium, all they needed was a narrative and a voice to relate it.
Heath Rave of Lotus Thrones bases this narrative on the ancient Indian legend of the Mahabharata, which tells of powerful supernatural weapons called the Brahmashirsha astra and the Brahmanda astra. Written for this album is a modern tale based on this legend, depicting the apocalypse as a mantra to complement Verschoor and Wilson’s musicianship.
Hinting at Burzum, Dødheimsgard and Blut Aus Nord as the songs shift from one mood to the next, “Brahmastra” mingles 90s black metal and ambient music with modern blackgaze, prog black metal and post black metal. Some material written in sounding attributed to classic Pink Floyd is easily recognizable but doesn’t contrast with anything.
The dark and desolate sensibilities grow each time the overall mood on this album changes, until the feeling of witnessing the final destruction of all things is all that’s left to experience. No ruins, no buried structures, just nothingness. When it comes to depicting the apocalypse, Altars Of The Moon is a band that takes it seriously. –Dave Wolff
Heath Rave: Vocals
Nate Verschoor: Bass, guitars, synth, programming
Jeff Wilson: Bass, guitars, synth
1. Brahmastra Pt. 1
2. Brahmastra Pt. 2