Martin : No matter what, Gnaw Their Tongues mastermind Mories tends to make things just that tiny bit more sickening than most other people. Adding his own twisted touch to Alkerdeel’s already delightfully gnarly tunes is quite the feat, but the upgrade he just gave his ‘atmospheric’ black metal project Cloak Of Altering is even beyond that.
With some fantasy, every Cloak Of Altering release up to ‘Plague Beasts’ can be considered somewhat of a failed experiment, since what was supposed to show admiration for ‘In The Nightside Eclipse’ era orchestration usually ended up being a very weird, unnerving, garbled mash of industrialized sounds and nostalgic black metal. Then again, perhaps that was exactly the idea. ‘Plague Beasts’, however, sounds a lot more consistent, probably because it’s an even more inconsistent album that has taken all the aforementioned elements to their extremes. Whereas in many cases solo projects are aimed at sounding as much a full band as possible, with polished productions and accurately programmed drums with realistically sounding samples, ‘Plague Beasts’ sonic landscape is about as ugly as it gets. The drum samples are downright nasty, and overall the programming is completely over the top, employing insane fills, increases in tempo so drastic they make the drums generate actual tones, and myriad of electronic sounds and gabba beats. The guitars are sinewy and very trebly, cascading over the steady pulse of a very present, ever-rumbling bass. Perhaps the most dominant element are the synths, which range somewhere between the artificial sounds of the mid nineties and triphop.
The stark contrast between recognisable references to the kind of black metal made famous by the likes of Emperor and Arcturus on one side, and the industrial extremity of, say, Aborym, sometimes even expanding into something closer to The Berzerker, and sometimes even being on the boundaries of downright noise, is what makes ‘Plagues Beasts’ a very enticing, though very draining listen.