The Atlas Moth / Altar of Plagues - Live in Philadelphia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Atlas Moth / Altar of Plagues

Live in Philadelphia (2012)

live show

Oddly enough, while it finally stopped raining in Pennsylvania, there was still plenty of doom to be found in Philadelphia Thurs., Sep. 6 at the Barbary. Doom of the metal variety, that is (I hate myself). Each of the three bands–Atlas Moth, Altar of Plagues and Vattnet Viskar–on the bill brought a new twist to black metal.

Up ‘n' comers Vattnet Viskar recently signed with Century Media, but right now they only have a self-titled EP to their name. While the room hadn't quite filled by the time they went on (WTF metal kids? I thought punk kids were the ones who showed up late to shows), the band still ripped through a series of volatile metal tunes that blurred the lines between sludge, black metal and technical hardcore. What really makes the band stand out is drummer Matt St. Jean, who threw in all sorts of drum line tricks instead of resorting to mere blast beats ‘n' breakdowns. Definitely a band to watch.

Speaking of bands on the rise, Altar of Plagues dropped one of the best records of 2011, Mammal, and they got to trot it out for the gathered Philadelphians. While a record whose songs run from eight to 18 minutes in length isn't exactly ideal for a 30-minute set, the band still tore through "When the Sun Drowns the Ocean" and "Feather and Bone" with a relentless abandon. They were definitely the most ethereal of the three acts, but that just made them stand out more: Altar of Plagues balance aggression and atmosphere to craft something truly face-melting.

That left Atlas Moth to finish the job right. Despite being the headliner, they actually felt slightly like the odd band out due to the bluesy/psychedelic elements they merge with their metal. Still played a solid set, but coming off the expansive yet violent soundscapes Vattnet Viskar and Altar of Plagues crafted, Atlas Moth felt a little too of this world. Great show all the same.