Review: “A Monument To Silence” by Alustrium

Last year saw Philadelphia, Pennsylvanian Progressive Death Metallers Alustrium announce themselves as a concern with “Insurmountable“, an EP that not only had Doctors readying straight jackets but earning enough praise to turn the heads of Unique Leader Records. Upon signing to the label the band commented about going in deeper with more conceptual song ideas and being inspired to attempt a full concept record, so despite the EP releasing just last year, “A Monument to Silence” is the culmination of several years of exploration…

…anyone who knows Alustrium will know that they are quite a left field signing for Unique Leader Records as while they create a potent mix of Progressive Technical Death Metal they also have plenty of Avant-garde moments as well with flavours of Between The Buried And Me, The Contortionist and Black Crown Initiate within their sound. A galloping introduction to the record in “This Hollow Ache” sees the band obliterate any ideas anyone might have of any Deathcore tendencies here, a ripper of a cut that would find itself at home on the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” with soaring ear bending solos and a gratifying energy. “Join the Dead” continues that vibe with lyrical interweaving and a couple of tribal drum passage of consumate skill from Kevin Corkran. Barbed riffs and intricate melodies at rapid pace are the bands stock in trade but there is time for a Stanley Kubrick inspired ambient passage at the end of “Hunted” that serves as a haunting palette cleanser ahead “The Accuser“. The formula for that is intricate climbing chord progressions that provide a melody to underpin the throat splitting vocals from Jerry Martin who ravages his vocal chords throughout, the moments of reverberation as his harsh moments bounce from one ear to the other a majestic touch. The majority of the album is comprised of cuts around the seven minute mark, each one brimming with ideas and momentum that pushes the boundaries of the listener as it introduces moments of melody that astound, taking the best moments of Progressive Technical Death Metal and making them oddly more listenable.

There are times when despite the throat shredding vocals that finger blistering fretboard work that the music doesn’t actually feel that heavy as the band play with mathematical riffs and instead make it all about atmosphere. “The Plea” is a fine example of that as while it is sinister and menacing, it still has time for some odd spoken word moments and there are short passages throughout the album that achieve the same thing. There is also no time for style over substance, the ambient horror of “Dreamless Sleep” something that could keep the faint of heart awake for many hours, while taking a similar approach to bands like Allegaeon with an acoustic moment in “Deliverance For The Damned” is a masterstroke that gives you plenty to think about after the album has finished it’s madness inducing violence. Then you have the virtuoso mind bending solos of the title track, with its little chug bursts of angular riffs that burst into majestic flame with the chorus that only serves to enhance the epic grandeur of the album as a whole. The finale is the kind of piece of music that needs to be performed at a venue matching its grand statue, like the Sydney Opera House or The Royal Albert Hall and to say that of anything Metal is testament to the craft, skill and effort that has gone into creating this. Alustrium aren’t just any band. They’ve ascended to join the ranks of the few capable of producing something astounding that leaves you wondering how they managed to achieve it [8/10]

Track listing

  1. This Hollow Ache
  2. Join the Dead
  3. Hunted
  4. The Accuser
  5. The Plea
  6. Dreamless Sleep
  7. Blood for Blood
  8. Deliverance for the Damned
  9. Worthless Offers
  10. A Monument to Silence

A Monument To Silence” by Alustrium is out 18th June 2021 via Unique Leader Records

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