ALTARS - Paramnesia (BLOOD HARVEST LP 2013)
Some years ago I was really impressed with a debut album of Australian death metal commando Altars. In my humble opinion “Paramnesia” was one of the best debuts of this decade and I frequently come back to this LP. But recently I discovered some sad news that the band split up. Damn, it’s shame that most likely we will never get a continuation of “Paramnesia”. But instead of crying, I decided to play this fantastic record once again and also write some words, hoping this review will introduce Altars to some people and they will want to grab a copy of “Paramnesia”. Believe me, this LP is worth it.
First time I heard Altars was on their split tape with Heaving Earth. I didn’t think it was anything exceptional. But the progression this band made from the demo to this album is huge. What “Paramnesia” brings is a eruption of massive, strong death metal maelstrom, which fantastically combines the traditional means of the genre, of great, noticeable influences that Altars takes from the likes of Morbid Angel, Immolation or Incantation, with the modern extreme metal avant-garde. And then the names of bands like Portal, Impetuous Ritual, Mitochondrion, even some black metal acts come to mind. So, there’s something progressive about their style, but at the same time it’s all deeply rooted in genre’s classics – can it be any better then?
Most of these songs are quite lengthy, but they never bore. The riffs here are all incredibly strong, they sound brutal and powerful, but also have a trance like influence on the listener. The drumming is simply excellent and the deep growl of Cale Schmidt fills the sound with something sick and inhuman. The whole music is massive, it feels like a heavy wall of sound that slowly comes closer and closer, little by little crushing every bone in your body. But this is a pleasant torture, because “Paramnesia” is so fuckin good. It’s very thick, dense sounding music, so heavy! But also quite technical, very often there will be some weird arrangements, sudden breaks, a lot of variety within every song… listen to it carefully and you will discover something fantastic there! The songs like “Mare” or “Khaz’Neh” are unbelievably good, “Khaz’Neh” even reminds me Gojira a bit haha! And the ending three-track concept called “Paramnesia” is a the real icing on the cake, especially its third part called “Ouroboros”
The album brings an interesting concept based on life, death and rebirth, what is a result of band members interest in Buddhism. And the word “paramnesia” is an inability to distinguish between real and fantasy memories. The front artwork was conjured by Denis Forkas Kostromitin, who also did an artwork for Behemoth’s “Satanist” LP among others. It is called “The philosopher and the Devil aphyroneus”. And additional artwork was done by the master Alexander L. Brown (Witchrist).All in all, “Paramnesia” is in my opinion among the best albums of recent years; very good, solid effort. Such a shame then it will not be continued.
Standout tracks: “Mare”, “Khaz’Neh”, “Ouroboros”
Final rate: 90/100