A//tar - Hallowed

06 Sep 2019 - Thorsten

Grunge-Sludge | Release date: 06 Sep 2019

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The Pacific Northeast of the USA. Home to early metal and grunge and blackgaze. Sometimes home to some at the same time. A//tar (pronounced Altar) is a good example of such a combination building their sound on equal foundations of blackgaze and grunge.

It’s all here in these 35 minutes: the timing, the songwriting but also the doom and gloom. Take the epicenter and masterpiece “Induction” for example. A song that takes its time; not only more than eleven minutes long (with more than half of that used for a pretty gloomy intro including a noisy few first seconds, an “offstage” spoken word part and simple yet effective nearly tribal drumming and seemingly semi-acoustic guitar lines before the song takes off), it resembles a Native American ritual pretty well with the second half of the song an example of modern grunge gospel steeped in sludgy post-metal.

Apart from the well-incorporated samples, the voice is the standout element of A//tar as it is as much Scott Weiland as it is Scott van Till, and this shall not be a burden on vocalist Juan Carlos Caceres who also plays the Moog. It is just unusual to come across a singer in a post-metal band who can croon and scream as well. Lyrically, the band uses a lot of time to establish a notion of decay which adds to the idea of witnessing a ritual (albeit not in the Amenra sense rather like Agalloch – we are not talking about Christian ideas but about Pagan procedures) with mankind rotting to the bones before being reborn - “bow down on the earth / ritual then rebirth / your knees are skinned to the bone / hands held to the sky / begging for transmigration / so close to death”. They are talking about a human blindness to what has happened, maybe what we let happen without preventing it. In some moments this sounds pretty introvert, reflexive and in the next moment it’s an accusation with the lines mentioned before used like a code in order to restore our position within nature.

Founder, guitarist and sample magician Tim Burke has gathered a group of talented musicians and A//tar will definitely stir a lot of people’s ears when they witness a new group from Portland, Oregon to step onto the scene and convince the world that this is one of the most influential regions for rock music in the last few decades.