Written by: Blackie Skulless
Our next death metal cut from Memento Mori’s Bar & Grill is a Canadian dish called Altered Dead. Returning to life for their sophomore effort Return To Life, these lads bring a pretty brief offering that resides on the chaotic side. Though I wouldn’t really call this a full-on technical disc, there’s definitely a lot crammed into a small space. Thirty minutes of grueling, otherworldly riffing and a Celtic Frost cover pass by before you know it.
If the album cover doesn’t give this away immediately, there’s a running theme of space and science passed through a slimy and grimy pattern for an optimal decaying experience. As guttural as the vocals are, they get somewhat stomped into the lunar surface, giving the guitars the main focal point. Occasional tastes of hardcore chugging can come through, honing in wavier tones during the slower riffs, and vibrant reverberations during the faster ones. It can get overwhelming at times, particularly when the drums blast away over-top this. But I won’t pretend it isn’t impressive.
Returned To Life does hit some points where you can almost feel that image of a planet imploding from monstrous growth, which seems to be the goal. “Prosodemic Realms” is so dense and compact with speed and distortion that you really can’t gather much from it besides the actual feeling. From a musical standpoint, it isn’t ideal, but it works being sandwiched between two slower builds. “Empostomb” actually brings things entirely into doom/death territory, cranking out fuming riffs under shrieking vocals. There are several dramatic changes within this track that work very well, breaking into a faster attack, and the inclusion of a groove-infused bridge.
One thing’s for sure; Altered Dead are not what I’d suggest to a death metal newcomer. It’s impressive how much they can fit into one lethal dose. From a songwriting standpoint, it’s rather disjointed and gets a bit too directionless sometimes. But the overall product’s stronger tactics are very strong, and for the right mindset it’s an enjoyable spin.
Altered Dead - Return To Life was released Jan. 25th, 2021 via Memento Mori
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!