Altar Of Plagues Mammal

Put away your silly green clovers, Ireland's Altar of Plagues turn everything black. Their sophomore album, Mammal, is a thunderous hail of black metal and epic post-rock depth. Altar of Plagues' black metal sections will be familiar to anyone who enjoys the genre: blast beats, lo-fi, echo-y screams and dissonant, repetitive riffing. Their strength is the seamless combination of black elements and post-rock musical journeying. Just when each song seems like a standard black metal number, the band detour into flighty, melodic jams that can last up to five minutes. It's a successful experiment that will likely intrigue people interested in either black metal or post-rock. With only four tracks, Mammal is an ambitious release, with songs ranging from eight to 18 minutes. The album's three main tracks, "Neptune is Dead," "Feather and Bone" and "All Life Converges to Some Center," are epic, thoughtful and dark, each displaying Altar of Plagues' talent for heavy grooves and heady jamming. "When the Sun Drowns in the Ocean" is completely unnecessary though; it's an eight-minute intermission of sampling that I hope doesn't make it to the live show. (Profound Lore)