Shadow Kingdom Records 2016
It's been four very long years since ALTAR OF OBLIVION's landmark Grand Gesture of Defiance, but the Danish kings are back to reclaim their throne with Barren Grounds! And although those four years have been quiet and could've spelled a change of course, ALTAR OF OBLIVION return rested and firing on all cylinders here, offering the same distinct sound as their celebrated pair of albums but perfecting it in a manner that's anything but barren. As emotional as ever and reaching equally for the heavens and hells, Barren Grounds offers four brand-new songs that span the signature ALTAR OF OBLIVION aesthetic. "State of Decay" begins the record quietly and then charges into molten heaviness, dynamically shifting gears, and often; "Serenity" is aptly titled, a placid instrumental that's the calm before the storm; the title track is pure emotional doom bliss, recalling the classic Candlemass archetype and arguably one of the band's best songs yet, while the hushed closer "Lost" is positively goosebump-inducing in its sonic loneliness. Altogether, and featuring the band's best and heaviest production to date, Barren Grounds makes for a completely satisfying mini-album experience: herald the return of ALTAR OF OBLIVION!