Altar Of Oblivion: Grand Gesture Of Defiance

Danish doomsters trudge in the shadows of their forebears

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Just five minutes longer than the half-hour Salvation EP they released earlier this year, this Danish quintet’s second LP is another textbook rendering of the epic doom orthodoxy, with imperial swathes of background organ augmenting the hulking power chords, windswept solos and the wild, querulous cod-operatics of Mik Mentor.

His vocals will prove divisive: loose, eccentric, melodramatic, sometimes flat and strained, but they add a distinctiveness to material that otherwise struggles to make its mark.

Agreeable but middling tunes like Where Darkness Is Light and In The Shadow Of The Gallows aspire to the economical ingenuity of Doomsword and the arcane majesty of Solstice but remain a few divisions short of that standard. The Smoke Filled Room is a beguiling acoustic instrumental with subtle Mellotron and neat, expressive soloing, while the ebb and flow of closer Final Perfection is also well crafted, this band surprisingly adept at the quieter moments.

A solid, by-the-book entry into the modern true doom canon, but for a Grand Gesture Of Defiance it perhaps lacks that killer bite.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.