Altars - _Altars_
by: Nikola Shahpazov (5 out of 5)
Aussie newbies Altars deliver the goods with a self-titled demo that is fit for a full-blooded album release. It is a definite old-school death metal affair, big ass vicious bass and all the way aggressive, yet at the same time it is what you would expect extreme music to be in the year 2008 -- daring and ultimately powerful.

Altar stick to the somewhat fuzzy and dirty American death metal style; the songs rarely go hyperspeed, but rather stay in the slow to mid-tempo territory, sometimes slowing down to doom/crust riffing. Earthshaking, bass driven grooves seem to be the main drive of each track, while intensity is added by the awesome, deep guttural vocals and guitar shredding.

While with all of these elements Altars would have been a decent enough band, it is Lewis Fischer's fantastic leads that make tracks like closing nine-minute stunner "Fallen Beneath Seleucid Temples" sound like a Lovecraftian tale put into music: unsettling and enchanting melodies from the cold realm of the stars. It is this particular mood that dominates the record -- thus it is an epic, atmospheric experience rather than a straightforward metallic slaughter set for headbanging.

Lyrical themes (of the philosophical-mystical type) and approach might suggest influences from both Morbid Angel and Mithras, but Altars seem to know exactly what they're doing and are everything but copycats. A supreme demo and a certain promise for a splendid debut.


(article published 30/9/2008)

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