Altar of Plagues is a wonderful new find for me! What we have here is atmospheric and epic black metal. There are only 4 tracks on the album, but it clocks in at 52 minutes. The long song structures reminds me a lot of metal gods ISIS, one of my favourite bands. But the sound is more akin to Agalloch (Marrow of the Spirit), with a rawer, more unpolished finish, like the band Kongh (Counting Heartbeats).
Track 1,2 and 4 are mammoth pieces of heavy drumbeats and fast guitars and blazing riffs with black metal vocals, mixed with slower, instrumental, segments that build a lot of atmosphere. These slower parts carry the heavy sound and powerful themes of the song without pause, no worries about lame interludes that spoil the mood here! The songs' melodies are long and evolving structures with themes that reach towards epic endings. The climaxes are cathartic, and then the songs ebb out with a nice passover to the next track. This makes the album one piece that you want to listen to in a stretch.
Track 3 is an atmospheric interlude, with female Gaelic funeral keening vocals. Utterly weird, but totally works. It creates a great contrast to the other songs.
Well, I'm smitten. This music is right up my alley, and I can only hope for more of this glorious sound in the years to come!