Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Alastor - Slave To The Grave

Bands that release on Halloween always need to have a certain over-the-topness to them if they want to be able to pull it off. Alastor, with their garishly painted faces and hat-wearing frontman have this. Their sound, reminsicent of Uncle Acid if Uncle Acid had to deal with Sweden's months of nearly no sunlight is driving and powerful. Awash in cascading waves of fuzz, Alastor's sophomore release Slave To The Grave is a masterfully done record that goes beyond the standard stoner doom tropes and into something greater.

Even from the first track, the nine minute long Your Lives Are Worthless with its melodic bridge it's fairly clear Alastor are on some different shit. While the influence of the fuzz bands is definitely a huge factor there's also a lot of prog going on here, and if you want to dig into more contemporary influences, I kind of suspect that Pallbearer had a hand in what is going on with Slave To The Grave. The vocals are powerful and soaring, perhaps the product of one of the best music education systems in the world. The overall execution of this thing is stunning and deals in girthy soundscapes that show a true understanding of doom metal.

Alastor are a band who are at once deeply emotional and very understanding of where this doom scene comes from as well as where it might be going. They have built a hefty sense of momentum into Slave To The Grave and it carries them through even the tracks that could probably afford to be cut down. A band who rely heavily on vibes and who seem to have no problem circling back and conjuring up wonderfully blasphemous demons, Alastor seem primed to be the genres new Swedish darlings.

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