REVIEW: Altar Of Plagues - Teethed Glory and Injury

Genre: Black Metal
Label: Profound Lore
Date of Release: April 30, 2013


Altar Of Plagues has made its mark as one of the greatest black metal bands ever to hit the scene. They formed in 2006 from Cork, Ireland, and from that point forward, the group released some highly enjoyably dark and atmospheric metal records, such as "White Tomb" in 2009 and "Mammal" in 2011. Sadly, though, as of 2013, their legacy may be coming to an end, as the members have decided to move on to other projects.* However, that doesn't mean that the band can't leave without a parting gift, which is where their third and last full-length, "Teethed Glory and Injury," comes in.

Compared to the rest of Altar Of Plagues's collection of releases, this album appears to be steering away from straight-up black metal for a much more atmospheric and abstract sound. Although it's not completely on par with the other albums, "Teethed Glory and Injury" is still written and executed incredibly well. The overall sound is plotted out very bizarrely, and the band takes advantage of this with strange but memorable structures and musicianship. The tortured vocals add some nice rawness and creepiness to the musicm while the guitars perform buzzed and mordantly odd riffs throughout. The drums sound a tad incongruent to the rest of the music, serving as an unorthodox framework for the songs' structures. In context of that, the structures are intriguing in how unpredictably they are built, piling further onto the album's captivating factor. From the great musicianship to the well-planned structures to the captivating moments, the atmospheric black metal here really comes across as an impressive act.

At times, the music even crosses into haunting drone territory. During those instances, the tracklist places more emphasis on the atmosphere for a more hypnotic and gripping listen. One such example would be the album's starting track "Mills," which enters with a slow, chilling, and somewhat distorted electronic drone track, giving the music some good suspense to work off of. The ambience behind some of these tracks, including this one, lends itself to be very useful in making the structures even more unsettling and attention-grabbing. To make a long story short, the drone-like sounds that "Teethed Glory and Injury" bring forth certainly work in its favor.

On top of the well-crafted metal, the album also possesses some simple but very fitting artwork. The cover is a black-and-white photograph of a woman contorting backwards in an unsettling arched position. The picture, as just stated, is simple, but is so odd, dark, and eerie that it clicks perfectly with the music. As this band always have, Altar Of Plagues has some stellar artwork to accompany their dark soundtracks.

As the band's last album, "Teethed Glory and Injury" has proved to be a nice finale for a great band's discography. While not quite as stellar as "White Tomb" and "Mammal," this record is nonetheless not an intriguing step the band took in developing their sound, but it also is darkly enjoyable. The way the songs are laid out with bizarre tunes and atmospheres into these odd structures make way for a pleasurable listen. Even though the iris is closing for Altar Of Plagues, it's safe to say they've definitely made their exit on a high note.

Score: 8.5/10 (Great+)