To stand out in a widely populated and saturated scene like atmospheric black metal, you really need to bring something interesting to the table in order to stand out such that you don’t get lost amongst the throngs of over acts that make up the style. You can take your sound in just about any direction you want, and some bands take that to a whole different level like what we’ve got here with the upcoming full-length from At the Altar of the Horned God whose upcoming album was far from anything I could’ve expected.
There have been plenty of times where I’ve listened to metal that’s maybe a little atmospheric and the band wants to sound unique and exotic so they throw the word “ritualistic” into the mix, so that word can become really unsavory when you see it misused time after time. But, it’s in those select instances where the word is actually appropriate that I cannot help but feel the album reaches a new height that we rarely get to see, and it’s with “Through Doors of Moonlight” that this obscure act shows us just how exactly it’s done. Despite not being even forty minutes long, there’s so much happening within the confines of this record that it’s a real marvel that Horned God actually made it work as well as it does given the stark contrast between the ritualistic elements and the scathing black metal that, somehow, flow really well from and into each other. It all works way to well here as every song that contains a ritual has a wholly unique one that really keeps you entranced right from the beginning and holds that all the way to the end with hypnotic rhythms and drones that you can’t rip yourself away from, and then it’s the black metal side that is absolutely scathing to the touch and ferocious on a level that’s only fitting for how ominously tranquil “Through Doors of Moonlight” can become at the drop of a hat. The very essence of what Horned God has brought to the table here is precisely what so many obscure acts throughout the vast underground try to achieve, but it’s here in every track that they’ve accomplished what many can only ever dream of.
While there’s so much glory to be had throughout the entire surreal experience of “Through Doors of Moonlight”, I can’t help but feel that this album only taps on the potential excellence behind this act despite every song being something to dissect and sink your teeth into no matter how often you listen to it. In a scene where it can be hard to stand out and even harder to do it well, At the Altar of the Horned God makes it happen like it’s fucking nothing, and I cannot wait to see how this seemingly random act will top themselves in the hopefully near future.
“Through Doors of Moonlight” releases on April 17th via I, Voidhanger Records!
LISTEN to an advanced track from “Through Doors of Moonlight” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE At the Altar of the Horned God on Facebook here.