When it comes to extreme metal, words like “brutal” or “bestial” are often tossed around as euphemisms for “low-effort.” Many releases promise an uncompromising degree of sonic destruction, but rarely follow through with ideas interesting and well-crafted enough to deliver on that promise. Life Desecration, the debut offering from Czechia’s ALTARS ABLAZE takes a nuclear sledgehammer to that trend. Forged by seasoned veterans of the Czech extreme metal scene, "Life Desecration" unleashes a flurry of blackened death carnage that concentrates enough concussive force to rival the most vicious of their more primitive antecedents. But this quintet sets itself apart by refusing to sacrifice compelling artistry in the pursuit of sonic savagery.
ALTARS ABLAZE’s mode of attack hearkens back to the finest moments of the infernal blasting death metal of the late 90s (embodied by the likes of ANGELCORPSE, HATE ETERNAL and DIABOLIC), blended with the most aggressive specimens of Nordic black metal, such as 1349 and SETHERIAL. But these are merely convenient points of reference. ALTARS ABLAZE are consummately unique in their interpretation of their style, with nuanced riffing and a command of dynamics, far exceeding those of any superficially comparable act.
ALTARS ABLAZE’s rare creativity shines through in a variety of unexpected moments throughout this record, too many to mention individually. Put simply, the band is unafraid to throw listeners off-balance by introducing dense layering of guitar polyphony, riffs that cycle through multiple divergent paths, and the introduction of asymmetrical shuffling drums amidst the blasting. In just over half an hour, ALTARS ABLAZE assert themselves as a distinctive and fearsome entity, and prove that, even in a style known for relentless aggression, there is ample room for subtlety and compelling songwriting.
"Life Desecration" was created with the aid of Chris Erkens of CYPHX AUDIO (CAMBION) handling the mix and master, and features artwork by BELIAL NECROARTS (CONCILIUM, FUSTILARIAN), with a logo by the venerable Christophe Szpajdel.
Official Track Streams: Glorification of Rats +++ Drenched in Wrath and Blood
1. For the Lifeless Love of a Crucified Corpse
2. Life Desecration
3. Shrine Destroyer
4. Across the Empires of Death
5. Drenched in Wrath and Blood
6. With Bone Crowns and Iron Scepters
7. Beneath the Smouldering Ruins
8. Glorification of Rats
Michal Kusák - Vocals
Tomáš Halama - Guitars
Frank Šerák - Guitars
Pavel Šatra - Bass
Peter Hetes - Drums