Another day, another excellent doom/post-metal album from the Pacific Northwest. This time around we have Portland’s A//tar (pronounced “Altar”) and their cavernous Hallowed, an echoing and massive effort that bears comparison to bands like Cranial, The Ocean, Ancestors and YOB. At its center, lies excellent production which renders every sound to its full impact, highlighting the effective guitar work, reverberating around a core of bleeding emotions radiation from the vocals. If that sounds grandiose and dramatic, you’re absolutely right; Hallowed has no time for pretense and pummels the listener with its furious and heavy intent right out the gate. Don’t believe me? Just head on down below for the full stream and find out for yourself.
Oof is probably the word you’re looking for. “Horology” is an excellent opening track; it sets things off with a quiet build up that metamorphoses into the tracks main riff. It is first accompanied by engaging clean vocals, vocals which turn harsher after the mid-point of the track is crossed. Those harsh vocals are one of the main draws of the track and, indeed, the entire album; they add an incredibly welcome edge that sets off the rest of the composition just right. Add to this some truly fantastic drum tones (that snare is perfect) and a chunky bass line and you’re all set.
The album continues to iterate on these ideas, hitting the listener again and again with those deep, unfolding, quieter segments (watch out for the electronic intro to the closing track, “Spoils”, and its incisive drums) only to later reap the emotional promise with deep-cutting vocals and payoffs. This truly beastly album releases on September 6th via Monochord Records; it’s one of the better releases in this vein from the Pacific Northwest this year and that’s saying something. Don’t miss out on it; head on over to the band’s Bandcamp page above to pre-order it.