“The Offering” ushers in Among The Ruins, an album that would appear to be a fairly standard slice of epic death/doom from Finland’s Altar Of Betelgeuse, signalling the expected slab of crushing riffage and clean/growled vocals but – and that’s an almighty but – the remainder of this release then segues into fairly unexpected territory.
Most often associated with a mix of stoner and death/doom, it’s actually to the Seattle sounds of the early 90’s that Worship Metal heard the most similarities….and, interestingly, the most potential. In actual fact, Altar of Betelgeuse emerge as Soundgarden / Alice In Chains ‘do doom’, with vocals flitting from a Layne Staley drawl to a guttural death/doom rumble and if you basically take the heaviest moments of grunge, and add a heaped spoonful of extra Sabbath, then you’re pretty much in Altar of Betelgeuse’s realm.
Now, we’re as partial to ‘growlers’ as the next man but in Altar of Betelgeuse’s case they sound infinitely better without the gutturals. Case in point; the excellent “Advocates Of Deception” is noteworthy because of the Chris Cornell-esque vocals attached to heavy, heavy doom riffs. Throwing in a few low-end death metal utterances would have contributed nothing (such as it doesn’t on opener “The Offering”) and the band excel when settling on just one style.
Death/doom is great – there’s no denying it – but its been done to death! Grunge/doom on the other hand, that’s something a little bit different and taken on that merit, Altar Of Betelgeuse’s Among the Ruins is a potentially massive release from a band who could do with pulling in just one direction. 7/10