Sunday, January 20, 2019 16:02

Posts Tagged ‘Black Altar’

BLACK ALTAR / VARATHRON / THORNSPAWN – SPLIT LP (Floga Records / Hell’s Fire Records)

Monday, January 28th, 2013

The actual title of this three-way split album is ‘Emissaries Of The Darkened Call – Three Nails In The Coffin Of Humanity’ but it would have been extremely untidy-looking if I’d tried to cram that mouthful into the headline space above. I’ve called it ‘Split LP’ for convenience sake only. Except the more I explain it, the less convenient it becomes…

Criminally-underrated Polish one-man band Black Altar gets us up and running with an Intro and three typically-excellent consignments of misanthropic Black Metal, the highlight of which is the stylish and unforgiving ‘Deep Cut Into The Open Wound Of Mankind’. All Shadow’s contributions on here are superb, though, and the album is arguably worth acquiring for these alone (Note: this record is far from expensive).

Varathron is a band I’ve tended to avoid as I’m not a massive fan of the Greeks’ über-melodic, Iron Maiden-y strain of BM. However, I must confess that their songs on this split are quite impressive, especially ‘Arawn’s Reign’, which closes Side A.

To Varathron also falls the honour of delivering the first two cuts on Side B, including a surprisingly-decent Black Sabbath cover, and satanic US trio Thornspawn play ferrymen for the return leg of the journey with four short, sharp jabs to the face. Nothing complicated about Thornspawn’s take on good old-fashioned, NWN-style, bestial blasphemy.

All in all, three distinct bands on exhibit here and each coughs up some worthwhile material to constitute a very successful and commendable collaboration, with gatefold jacket, liner notes and full lyrics all chipped in as part of the pact.

Evilometer: 555/666

BLACK ALTAR – DEATH FANATICISM LP (Antichristian Front Records)

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Black Altar is probably the most criminally-underrated Black Metal artist around. The Polish entity has barely put a hoof wrong throughout his career and ‘Death Fanaticism’ – which originally saw the darkness of night on CD three years ago – really comes into its own in glorious vinyl format. Quite simply, this is one of the most essential records I’ve bought this year. If you enjoy great BM with an evil, eerie vibe, then you can’t go wrong with this 54-minute slab of malevolence.

A luxurious gatefold LP edition affords the album a new lease of life, with larger artwork than a measly CD and lyrics etc. included on the inner-fold section. But it’s the mind-blowing, horrific music that takes centre stage. For me, Black Altar captures the essence of pure evil in his music, a feat that so many other bands fail miserably to accomplish. He just possesses that something extra, a special ingredient, an innately-base sound that elevates his musick above the norm.

Unimaginative band name aside, Black Altar ticks all the boxes. Assisted by a slew of session musicians, sole member Shadow ploughs through nine tracks of infectious Black Metal, effortlessly switching between all out aggression and dark ambience as well as touching on everything in between. There’s a keen sense of melody snaking through the album, tying everything together seamlessly, and the production is everything you’d expect from an awesome underground release.

I don’t possess the adjectives or superlatives to do this one justice. Maybe I’m all written out. But suffice to say ‘Death Fanaticism’ is one of the most potent, relevant, mandatory chunks of atmospheric, raw Black Metal you’ve ever going to hear. Buy it on vinyl; it’s a decision you’ll never regret.

Evilometer: 666/666