A Voice From the Four Horns of the Golden Altar, the debut album from The Beast of the Apocalypse, is one of the most primitive, uncompromising and terrifyingly effective black metal albums I’ve heard in a very long time. Imagine a doomier, atmospheric black metal version of Incantation’s Mortal Throne of the Nazarene and you’ll have some idea of what this duo from the Netherlands sounds like.
The backbone of the album is very simplistic, downtuned guitar riffing, which is sometimes heavily punk-influenced and more doom and sludgey elsewhere. The bestial vocals are a distant, unintelligible roar, while lurking keyboards add a tangible creepiness. The resulting music is a brutal fusion of black metal atmosphere with death and sludge metal heaviness. The Beast of the Apocalypse have crafted a sound that, while it’s a bit different than the archetypical black metal sound, will still appeal to the genre’s hardcore fans, but I also feel like this album is dark and brutal enough that metal fans who aren’t into black metal will also dig it.
Most of the songs on the album are really interchangeable. A couple like the title track and ‘Twins of Jesus’ are slower and heavier, but they all sound pretty similar overall. On this album though, the individual songs aren’t really the point. A Voice From the Four Horns of the Golden Altar is one of those albums that just has to be experienced in full, as a whole. And in this case it’s not because the songs are tied together in any particular way, it’s just because the entire album is one huge slab of awesome brutality and darkness. This is what metal should sound like.