A good Australian death metal band is often comparable to the likes of a platypus for most Brits. It’s unlike anything we have witnessed before, hides in the murky depths, holds unexpected venom and is found on the other side of the world. Thankfully, metal voyagers (and the ever helpful internet) have brought Altars to our attention and their debut ‘Paramnesia’ is rare breed of originality and heaviness. With a few splits and demos helping evolve their sound and grow their fan base, their first full length offers a true stench of original sounding death metal, with an uneasy atmosphere avoiding the use of clichés. In a similar vein to fellow Aussies Portal, Altars use a lot of reverb and sludgy undertones to create a swampy sound; however the overall effect is slightly less overwhelming than the aforementioned band. It also means they avoid losing ferociousness of each instrument, such as the speedy complexity of the drums on certain tracks, including ‘Solar Barge’.
Opener ‘Mare’ lets us know what we’re in for with a dense and slow wall of sound akin to some doom death bands and influences from classic Morbid Angel or Incantation. Cale Schmidt’s full growls don’t tower above the instrumentals, instead adding depth to the already crushing experience and the whole album proves as a work of art, swirling from one song to next making it hard to notice stand out tracks. With a debut filled with promise and unique angst, we can only salivate over the thought of some more truly rotten soundscapes from the land down under.
Reviewed by Lily Randall
‘Paramnesia’ is out Sept 6th on Nuclear Winter
You’ll like this if… you like your death metal to drown you in something different from the usual bloody corpses.