History & BiographySpeedy Dutch band Altar might have been the second Altar to release music, but was the longer-standing. Beginning life with plenty of Deicide and Sinister inspiration, the group quickly hit a note with the death metal underground with its speedy music and 'Religions Are No Fun' parody slogan and merchandise.
And God Created Satan To Blame For His Mistakes was a great demo in 1992 and the band transferred most of the music to its debut Youth Against Christ. The album was licenced by Massacre in Germany and the band played the second stage at Dynamo.
After some difficulties with Displeased, the band released in The Name Of The Father independently and licenced it to Pavement for the territory outside Benelux.
The band stagnated to the point that the quintet decided to call it a day in September of 2001. Following the departure of singer Edwin Kelder Altar had disbanded. Shortly thereafter, Marcel Verdurmen and Richard Ludwig decided to reform the band and recruit new members. These were singer Arnold Oude Middendorp (also of Devious), bassist Reinier de Vries and drummer Marco de Groot.
In late 2002 Cold Blood Industries signed Dutch death metal band Monolith. This band featured ex-Dead Head singer/guitarist Michiel Dekker and ex-Altar and To Elysium drummer Sjoerd Visch. Altar came abck in 2002, issued a 2007 demo, died and again came abck in 2014.
ALTAR - PROVOKE - DISPLEASED
Unlike some putrid fads making our scene home and parading as avatars; yet only serving to corrupt heavy metal from the inside, there still remain bands which know what the genre was, is and will be in the future. One such band is Holland's Altar. Provoke, the band's third album, sees the refreshed line-up producing an action-packed heavy/death metal album laden with very well produced soloing, speed riffing and enriched with a great sound. The vocals are a plus and custom designed to maim. Musically, the band is tight and like the leads very well crafted. These are not your average solos and last longer than we have become used to of late, which is yet another plus. There are certainly weaker moments where the 'chugga chugga' sounds of a thrash metal band come to mind or where the band seems to be clinging to a song and prolonging it without reason. Worse, the band does a needless cover of Accept's Fast As A Shark where it fails to reproduce the genius of the Germans. Elsewhere, the track Wasted World comes dangerously close to Overkill's Coma. Overall though, Altar has produced a great album. The tracks Wasted World and Silent Force were already available on the Smells Like Team Spirit compilation, albeit the former under the title World. - Ali "The Metallian"
ALTAR - IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER - PAVEMENT
While this review might seem a little older, this particular version is the North American one featuring two exclusive tracks. Not much has changed with Altar: they still make a few very good songs...and a few not so good ones. Every Altar CD could have been a very good MCD I believe. Here tracks like opener Holy Mask and Spunk are shining examples of quality death metal. The former is everything a death metal number should be. It maintains a catchy death barrage; very tight and listenable which executes a heavy attack on the listener, and boy what a rocking lead guitar! The latter is also super fast, with a tight, powerful delivery which makes the drums specially shine. On the other hand tracks like the repetitious God Damn You or the (again) redundant cover of Trooper are a drag to listen to and seem merely throw-away. Additionally, some readers might recall this criticism last time I reviewed Altar, the band can get downright goofy at times.Check out this line from the song Walhalla Express (the title itself says it all) for example,' I cum all over your face then take you from behind, Reign in Blood from Slayer is blasting through my mind.' I mean really! - Ali "The Metallian"