Sunday, June 24, 2012

Altar/Cartilage - Ex Obliovione/The Fragile Concept Of Affection [1992] (Split)

During the days when death roamed the world like a unmerciful tyrant, bands were exploiting their own music rapidly, and many couldn't even get pass demo level. Splits were scarce, yes, but they still existed, and somewhere in the repugnant bowels of time, lies a hidden split of two bands; The Finnish act Cartilage and the Swedish devil Altar, but great bands who would gradually escalate towards the same fate that many suffered during the late/mid 90's: Destruction. Yes, it indeed brings me great sorrow to see that both bands are now disbanded, but instead of mourning over their death like me, you can grab a copy of their split LP (which is now a precious rarity), and enjoy forty two minutes of decomposed manifestations of corrupted death metal, from the two countries that made produced the during the heydays of old school death metal.

Four bonus tracks were added to the album later on (two songs four each), and I suppose they're fairly good, but let's focus on the main, decrepit material here. Altar are from Sweden, though they don't extract the same kind of Swedish death metal bands played in those days to the opposition of many, creating a rather thrash-oriented churning of Morbid Angel circa ''Altars Of Madness'' with a slightly rougher production and a more doom-laden edge. Altar keeps the balance of the music at a steady level with jumpy incursions and spiky verse and that additional thrash crust I was talking about, but I still didn't find their style too distinct or gloomy. The vocalist's muffled growls don't stand out with great prominence, but so long as they fit the music well, I'll be content.

Cartilage, on the other hand, provide with a slightly different brand of death metal, this time taking influences from their home country instead of another. Cartilage definitely pleasured me more than Altar because the riffs are rawer and even more filthy than Altar, and Cartilage's vein is laden with Demilich, Abhorrence and Convulse; some of the finest Finnish death metal bands out there. They're sordid, no doubt, and evil at that, and they can preserve that quality of the music through each riff, slow or fast. Cartilage mainly focuses on frantic attacks and swift channels, leaving a bit of an old school thrash mark on your ears, but they still tend to give off a horror feeling to the listener with numerous implements, so you'll be headbanging and feeling chills slithering through your spine at the same time. Awesome.

Both bands would eventually be destroyed, but Altar released a couple more demos before their annihilation, so I guess they're a little more lucky. This split offers death metal that any old school death/thrasher would enjoy, and they're even bizarrely flourished, and even though both bands may not have created considerably original death metal, their material is still sturdy, cunning and rotting, so jump at it while you still have the chance.

''The Underworld''
''Why Do I Watch The Dawn''
''Ex Oblivione''
''Daymere/A Message From The Grave''

Final Rating
Awesome [8.6/10]