Teethed Glory And Injury is a record steeped in hurt, in pain and in eventual truth, and with their third full-length album, Altar Of Plagues have taken all that is theirs and wrought a work of bewildering yet almost unbearably resonant agony. It is an incredible, truly special thing to behold.
Moments of heart-dropping wonder – the clever pause between the heady stomp of Burnt Year and Twelve Was Ruin is enough to stop you dead in your tracks – colour an album that is both as far removed from the Irish group’s beginning as anything else they’ve done so far, yet is defiantly and uniquely recognisable in execution.
Altar Of Plagues have long been a deeply experimental band and 2011’s acclaimed Mammal saw them push even further away from the standard black metal blueprints of yore, and Teethed Glory And Injury is far beyond classification. Stunning opening track Mills ushers in the album soaked in a very deliberate atmosphere of discomfort, all stabbing, painful clashes of noise, electronic sweeps and intermittent, unpredictable hits on the drum, which leads into the devastating God Alone, a track that is utterly unrelenting in its suffering and the first song here to utilise gorgeous clean vocals to a wonderfully mesmerising effect.
Bittersweet passages of choral-laden vocal permeate the aforementioned Twelve Was Ruin before giving way to industrial tones and noise-led landscapes of pure, unadulterated desolation. A Remedy And A Fever flows in currents of martial drum-lines and an overarching feeling of great, innate sadness before swells of clean vocal build beautifully behind desperately harsh intonations of anguish, giving Teethed Glory And Injury a brutal honesty in this often difficult journey we call life.
Reflection Pulse Remains closes the album in a manner to live long in the memory, as tormented guitar inflections and delirious, pained howls of ‘I am not here’ guide the waves of catharsis to the ultimate end. Altar Of Plagues are changed. And so are we.