Eldritch Horror
At the Altar of Death EP

I reviewed Eldritch Horror‘s 2015 long awaited debut album Untouched by the Sun here 7 years ago. Time flies. And what a debut that was. Harnessing old school death metal calling to mind the 80’s and not surprising since they’d been underground monsters since yet 80’s. Finally seeing the band live a few years after the debut and meeting them was wonderful especially since the band put on a highly energetic set. Fast forward 7 years later and still unsigned out of nowhere the band drops this 3 song ep At the Altar of Death. 3 songs in 16 minutes.

“Graven Gods” starts off with a killer drum roll and then right into their death thrashing madness. Dave Price has a set of killer pipes and his usual gruff delivery is more pronounced and he throws in those rasps too to twist your neck into oblivion. Longtime founder/ guitarist Dennis Shaw has killer guitar riffs from his warped mind. Creative solos, pinch harmonics and those freaking riffs are insane. John Placko nailing down drums quite viciously and organic and thumping double bass to loosen up your molars. The song slows down to an atmospheric moment towards the end. It’s pure Eldritch Horror. One minute they’re ripping your head off and the next a classic atmospheric slow down which is heavy, emotive and memorable. The song picks up speed to tie the song together until it comes to an end. Scorcher of an opening song.

“A Dream of Pan” is up next and starts immediately with rumbling double bass and then the music picks up to that perfect 80’s and early 90’s death / thrash speed. No blast beats and the band does not need them. Eldritch Horror is an organic old school band. If I was to compare them to another band, it would have to be Deceased-one of my favorite bands. Organic, no frills death metal with thrash metal influences. It does not mean any of these bands are sounding outdated – that’s not what I am saying. They offer character and a genuine love for the type of music they play. As I mentioned, the double bass on this song is beyond ferocious. The vocals alternating in a deep gruff pattern with higher registers. The death thrashiness at the 2.53 part is exceptional. It gets faster than slows down and Dennis’ guitar riffs are so damn tasty. A short while later the song gets into a mid-paced crunch fest reminding me of Bolt Thrower, along with a guitar solo to lop your head off for the umpteenth time. The song slows down, further and further. Almost getting into doom metal territory. This is an amazing song.

“The Offering” closes the ep and is the longest song on the release, close to 6 minutes. Slow build-up with the drums and vocals and then the song rips into a quick beat, old school blast beat and it’s killer. Guitar solo erupts out of nowhere and has some classic metal influence to it. I find myself thinking Marty Friedman when hearing this solo. The song gets more epic then a little Iron Maiden guitar melody and more guitar soloing-classical guitar influences are definitely an influence on Mr. Shaw. The song gets that rumbling heaviness back and then gets into doomier territory as it trails off and then the ep is finished.

At the Altar of Death is a great stop-gap release by Eldritch Horror, before the second album comes out. As to when that will happen I have no clue. The ep cover is awesome-I want this on a shirt and I want it yesterday, damnit! I love the organic nature of their music, their originality and the songwriting is stronger on this. I wish the band was signed, but do your part and order their releases and like their FB page. Eldritch Horror is one of the most underrated underground bands out there!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
May 26th, 2022

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