Altar of Oblivion hails from Denmark, delivering their second full-length album, Grand Gesture of Defiance. However, with only six songs and a running time of only 34 minutes, it's hard to be satisfied with this disc as a long player.
Nevertheless, AoO are still sound purveyors of doom metal mixed with classic heavy metal of the Eighties. Their songs can be both deep and plodding, but also charismatic and epic thanks to twin guitar leads and atmospheric keyboards. At times they remind me of Candlemass without being a copy.
The real strength here is that mixture of doom with classic metal. You get that from the start with the foreboding heaviness of Where Darkness is Light and the creepy The Graveyard of Broken Dreams. Then later you get thrown a few curves with the classy acoustic instrumental The Smoke-Filled Room and the symphonic The Final Perfection. Along the way, Mik Mentor's vocal intonations add an interesting texture, something between operatic inclinations and funeral dirge. While many will call this 'doom' metal, it's much more and much more interesting. Recommended.