Iris is not the
most progressive album on this list. Nor is it the most melodic. Nor is it the
most energised. Nor is it the heaviest. But it soars to unparalleled success as
an emotive work of art that elicits feelings from me that no other entry on
this list could even come close to recreating.
Providing almost an hour of ethereal, blackened doom, Altars
of Grief’s second full-length is the deeply sorrowful record that you listen to
when the sun is imploding or the oceans are evaporating. It is the soundtrack
to unfettered despair, hopelessness, regret and lamentation.
Iris is the best
kind of album: one that challenges the listener to explore emotional avenues that
they would otherwise be frightened to. It beckons you down dark hallways and –
through its despondent melodies, choral vocalisations, agonised wails and
atmospheric guitars – you are powerless to resist its call. The slow-burning “Isolation”
envelopes with its curious yet haunting aura, just in time for “Desolation” and
a mind-melting title track to barrage you with a cathartic display of raucous
yet never uncontrolled rage.
Everything about Iris
is masterfully done, from the compositions to the production to the lyricism. Nothing
feels out of place: every note has its position and its purpose. And, more often
than not, that purpose is to transport you to a hellishly blackened landscape of
the most soothing sadness.