1998 Displeased Records
Review by Vladimir Levin
Thanks to Displeased for the CD
I have long awaited Altar's third release after listening to
their crushing, brilliant sophomore effort, "Ego Art". "Provoke" delivers
the same devastating beats, utterly relentless pounding combined
with deft and imaginative guitars licks. It's this combination
of utter heaviness, slick harmonies and clever pacing that makes
Altar such a uniquely impressive band in the realm of death thrash.
Altar's message is one of unmistakable contempt for any kind
of imposed order. The music is defiance personified, drenched
in an overpowering, fluid violence. "Provoke" pounds its way into
one's consciousness; the only respite seems to come in the form
of intricate guitar harmonies which emerge spontaneously
from chaos, delicately balanced for a moment, only to submerge
again into a current of pure force.
In spite of the energy and power of the music, it's paradoxically
Altar's talent for restraint and timing that makes this album stand
out among the other death bands. This restraint, this building of
momentum on tracks like "Silent Force" really creates the feeling of
utter heaviness on this album. Amidst the musicianship, one should
not forget the powerful, hoarse vocals that more than anything
else uniquely identify the sound of this band. The strongest
comparison I can draw about this album in terms of thrash elements
harmonized with melody as well as in terms of heaviness is to
Metallica's timeless "Master Of Puppets".
So in spite of losing their drummer Marco and guitar player
Bert (replaced respectively by Sjoerd and Richard on the current
album), Altar's latest release reinforces the band's position as
the best brutal death thrash band of the day, and also demonstrates that
styles outside the Gothenberg Sound are possible and can be equally
successful! This effort provokes only admiration in this reviewer.
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