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ALTAR
ALTAR
Dark Domains 1989 - 1995
(Konqueror Records)
78:23min

It is the season of obscure hard to get Death Metal re-releases, either as albums with a bit of extra material or almost a band's full discography, like it is the coincidence here with this release of all (I reckon) ALTAR's recorded material. And if you think that ALTAR made several full length albums and is somewhat more chugging and grooving than the music on "Dark Domains 1989-1995" you are thinking of the wrong ALTAR, this band is from Sweden and is besides the name not related to the Dutch Death-Thrashers. Sweden is and has been more than the old sludgy and raw Death Metal that the country first got known for, and the melodic wave that came afterwards. Besides the sludgy Death Metal that has become synonymous with Swedish Death Metal, there have always been a small but steady amount of bands into more technical Death Metal inspired by everything than the rawness and hellish attitude that sparked Swedish Death Metal. ALTAR is one of those bands into the more technical side of things, something that drowned a bit in the midst of everything else in the beginning of and mid-nineties. ALTAR had one legendary release back in the days, 1992 was the year when "Ex Oblivione / The Fragile Concept Of Affection", saw the light of day, a split release from ALTAR and Finnish CARTILAGE, a highlight and more or less a swansong, as there only were released a couple of demos after that, where the last one was heading a bit in the direction of melodic Death Metal. I'm not totally sure about what I'm most fond of, the 1991 demo "No Flesh Shall Be Spared" or the "Ex Oblivione" material. The first demo from 1991 displays brutal US styled Death Metal with a guttural and not fully developed growl, it is actually more of a grunt, though a fresh breath of brutal dark Death Metal with a slight technical edge to it, and some good melodic breaks and hooks together with a nice variation of mid-paced and grinding pieces. "Ex Oblivione" is more defined as ALTAR's own style, more technical and darker with an eerie, horror-like twist with a bit of synth and well placed samples. The great melodies and riffing are more pronounced and precise together with the growl has improved quite a lot. The pace shifts are still working, and with the greater and stronger songwriting it is really hitting it off. 5 great tracks of dark and atmospheric Death Metal with a brutal and technical twist that makes it lasting. This is a re-release worth its money, an hour and 18 minutes of great Death Metal and the history of a band that could have made a deeper impact within the world of Death Metal if they had kept the line-up intact and kept on doing what they began with, instead of straying off the path. "No Flesh Shall Be Spared", the 1992 promo and "Ex Oblivione" can kept me occupied a whole day, that's Death Metal! www.facebook.com/konquerorrecords

Anders Peter Jørgensen

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