Premiere: Altars – Ascetic Reflection

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Hideous and majestic death metal to start your day.

It has been just shy of a decade since Altars last released an album; if you’re one of those who have been (im)patiently waiting for a follow-up to 2013’s Paramnesia, your wait ends now. We have the full stream of Ascetic Reflection right here, right now, ready for your waiting ears. If you’re new to the band, now is a great time to get acquainted. Altars is a death metal powerhouse, and you’ll see shortly that nine years of hibernation have not dulled their edge in the slightest.

That’s not just lip service; Paramnesia is a classic in its own right, but Ascetic Reflection is a refinement of the ideas on that album in many ways. Much of what made that album great is still present- they still blend scathing dissonance with haunting melody, still turn on a dime from blistering tremolo riffs to creeping doom- but it all feels more natural, more like they’re comfortable in their sound. It’s dynamic and unpredictable, but the way the album flows is very organic; they masterfully sidestep the “riff salad” pitfall that eclectic death metal can fall into, and every part of this album sounds like it was placed with purpose and intent.

If the mention of dissonance above has your hackles raised, fear not; Altars’s music is very distinctly structured, veering away from the caustic aural haze the dissonant death metal genre seems to have garnered a reputation for. This is part Gorguts, yes, but it’s just as much Morbid Angel or Immolation. These three are distant touchstones, but the point is you shouldn’t write this off as more weird disso-death we’re throwing your way.

That’s enough rambling though. You’ve waited long enough, so hit play and let the music swallow you whole.

Ascetic Reflection releases on July 8th via Everlasting Spew (may they reign in upchuck eternal). You can purchase it on Bandcamp or direct from the label now.

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