Altar
Youth Against Christ/Ego Art (Reissue)

Finally we get proper reissues of the first 2 classic death metal albums from Altar.  Altar are still currently active, hail from the Netherlands, but the only releases I was ever familiar with are the first 2 albums, Youth Against Christ from 1994 and Ego Art from 1996.  In conjunction with Urubuz Records and Displeased Records; Marquee Records brings us these 2 top shelf reissues.

Altar were heavily influenced by the Floridian death metal scene of 1989 – 1992.  So it’s no surprise that Deicide was a huge influence as was Monstrosity, Cancer and SuffocationAltar really went for the jugular.  Youth Against Christ was always a favorite of mine and forget the intro, but “Throne of Fire” is so goddamned intense, it’s impossible to not pick up baseball fields and toss them into tornadoes.  So damn fast, but brutal and layered vocals, ala Deicide.  Memorable guitar melodies and killer guitar work.  One of the things on this debut album is maybe some of the songs could have used a trimming.  Songs range from the 5 – 8 minute mark.  But to me this can be overlooked, especially when you have “Jesus is Dead!” at over 7 minutes, but those damn guitar riffs.  Especially that opening riff.  And the 1.54 part, don’t even get me started, with that groove and then going into the isolated bass guitar part-it’s freakin’ brilliant.  Classic and true brutal death metal.  Youth Against Christ would go on to receive decent reviews and caused Altar to begin getting quite a bit of hype.

In 1996 with the death metal scene beginning to show signs of change Altar continued to plug away and go for the jugular with their brand of death metal, with Ego Art.  The album production may have been a bit thinner than the debut, but songs like “I Take” and “Pathetic Priest” showed Altar were not going away. Still mixing in Floridian style death metal riffs, with killer groove parts and well-done guitar solos.  Again creating a very memorable album, where the songs would connect with the listener.  The title track, in particular, was and still is a great death metal song.  Altar managed to trim the song lengths a bit, but I feel maybe the debut album, was a tad stronger, just a preference I suppose..  Make no mistake Ego Art, does indeed crush.  Altar showed no signs of being less brutal and continued to pummel the listener with blast beats and well-written groovier passages.  To this day these 2 Altar albums are some of the best death metal, from the 90’s.  I have not heard any of their other releases, outside of these 2 albums, they have 3 other ones.  Their last album was in 2001.

So these remasters are courtesy of Rafael Orsi, who does a killer job.  Both albums sound louder and even crisper, if you can imagine that.  Across both reissues the Until Heaven Forbids comp is split.  The comp contains demos, cover songs, live songs and new songs.  So you get a lot of bang for your bucks.  Both reissues contain lyrics, photos and band flyers.  They are both housed in nice digipaks and the cd tray also has pics/artwork.  These are some awesomely layed-out reissues and even the cd spines look killer.  Everything went into giving Youth Against Christ and Ego Art the top shelf respect they both ultimately deserve, with these wonderful reissues.  Buy or Die!

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
July 17th, 2018

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