Thursday, July 24, 2014

Altars / Heaving Earth - Engulfed

Underground fanatics should be familiar with Nihilistic Holocaust. The French label specializing in all things steaming and nasty runs the gamut in extremity but owner Gabriel has a really good nose for Death Metal and Grind excellence. This slime colored four song split between Australians, Altars and Czech Republic's Heaving Earth is an enjoyable and memorable release that more than makes up for it's lack of originality with four well written songs. It represents both bands particularly well. Both are different enough to create distinction and separation but not so far off that the grouping is odd. Both are fast slightly grinding Death Metal with some abrasive atonality thrown in for kicks and screams. Altars is the more "underground" sounding of the two. Heaving Earth's more polished sound is appropriate for their slightly more technical mish-mash.

I find myself enjoying the Altars tracks more. They remind me of early 90's Death Metal stalwarts such as Immolation as well as more modern projects like Beyond and Mithras. Opening their pair of tracks, "Husk," initiates the cluttered sounding morass that is Altars' tracks. Murky and swampy guitar tones drift across the pummeling rhythm sections with occasional tremolo accents and nuances. Their second track, "Descent (Paramnesia, part I)" is an imbroglio of riffs and drum fills. The Heaving Earth side is, as foretold, cleaner but that by no means should discourage those searching for new Death Metal. The two tracks are quite good, especially "I Am Nothing," where even through tons of percussive ordinance, guitar riffs shine and verses echo the songs memorable intro and it's machine-like emphasis. The groovier parts of the track aren't good and second song "Into the Depths of Abomination" is generic. Though still twisting and wielding enough riffs to continue my interest the overall feeling isn't as strong here as we get hints of Necrophagistesque technicality. The Altars side of the split doesn't have more personality than the Heaving Earth duet but it has a personality which impresses me more.

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