One of many offshoots / alter-egos of the notorious Dutch industrial black metal outfit Gnaw Their Tongues, Cloak Of Altering returns to deliver the follow-up to the maniacal 2014 album Plague Beasts, unleashing yet another brain-scrambling blast of mutated symphonic black metal, nightmarish breakcore madness, and hellish electronics fused together into a sweat-soaked, chrome-plated nightmare. Compared to previous works, the seven-song Manifestation is a slightly less chaotic monstrosity, giving these blackened maelstroms added room to breathe, but the cumulative assault of Cloak Of Altering's sound on the band's fourth album continues to thoroughly scorch the listener.
The sound is still rooted in a bizarre confluence of majestic synth-drenched black metal, skewed industrial heaviness, and fractured Planet Mu-esque electronic music, seemingly as informed by the hallucinatory throes of early Coil and the violent breakcore of Bong-Ra and Venetian Snares as it is by classic Nordic black metal. Strange contrapuntal riffs weave drunkenly amid crackling electronic glitch and eerie drones. Mournful synthscapes unfold across glacial rhythms and distorted doom-laden dirges. Blasts of foul, industrialized death metal pummel erupt alongside ominous piano figures and swells of sickening orchestral dissonance. Swarms of blackened tremolo riffage sweep across sputtering malfunctioning rhythms and strange electronic accoutrements. One notable difference from the previous album: the vocals, which here often take form here as a vile, guttural robotic croak, a sickeningly putrid android presence that is layered among the rest of the distant shrieks, anguished screams and chilling, garbled cries that all feel as if they are trying to escape the bowels of some nightmarish AI system.
And as always, Cloak Of Altering balances all of this confusional, electronically-deformed madness with some strikingly beautiful and majestically bleak melodic passages, with blasts of bombastic, heavily atmospheric synthesizer roaring across songs like "Parasitic Altering Sickness" and "Hidden Celestial Deity". An arresting, alien album that violently mutates these strands of symphonic black metal DNA into a stranger and more complex strain of digital delirium.