posted on 10/2008 By:
Touted as ‘ambient/experimental death metal’, the debut 5 song demo/EP from Australia’s Altars is certainly death metal, but I’d hardly call them experimental. Talented and promising? Yes? Adventurous? Yes? In need of tightening up and some polishing? Indeed.
Apparently song titles like “Transcending the Spectral Planes” and a 9-minute song called “Fallen Beneath Seleucid Temples” are the reason for the ambient/experimental tag, as beyond those two things, Altars are a pretty run of the mill technical death metal band that has a strong Mithras influence (echo-y solos, chaotic structures, etc.) and an expected muddy lo-fi demo production. However, literally lurking under the expected sound quality is a very promising band that’s screaming out for a decent studio and an indie record deal (Obsidian Records?).
The five tracks each rumble with a controlled chaos and deep gruff vocals, not a click or tick in sight as far as the drums are concerned and it all sounds very cavernous, but could use just a little polish so the music can breath a little better. Song wise opener “Transcending the Spectral Planes” is a fairly standard death metal blaster, but the second song “Towers of Silence” is where things get a little more interesting and the Mithras influence starts to bubble to the surface, especially in those other worldly solos and then in the militaristic rumble of “Besiege the Towers”, however, think Forever Advancing Legions, not the more clean and clinical last two albums.
The last track, the aforementioned 9 minute “Fallen Beneath Seleucid Temples” is actually about a 6-minute track then three minutes of echo-y guitar wailing-hardly deserving of the experimental/ambient tag. Still, Altars, with just these five songs demonstrate enough ability to warrant fan interest and label interest, especially if they improve and tighten.
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