United States, Unique Leader Records, Technical Death Metal
Let’s begin by clarifying that Immortal sounds nothing like the frosty black metal of Immortal. Instead, Alterbeast’s first full-length combines bludgeoning yet dynamic technicality with neo-classicism Christian Muenzner would envy. The final product gives competition to genre heavyweights like Origin and Archspire for best record of 2014.
The success of the album rests in the blend of numerous technical death metal audio tropes, and one slightly unusual choice. Alterbeast employs over-the-top weedly bits (Brain Drill), rigid jackhammer riffs (Deivos), serpentine twists (Neuraxis), ultra technical yet dynamic song structure (Viraemia), and an inhuman drum onslaught (Hour of Penance), to create a cyclone of hellfire. As for the odd pick, the dueling high/low vocals call to mind slightly more melodic music, namely The Black Dahlia Murder. This give Immortal a memorable side that much of brutal death metal lacks. Rather than thirty minutes of blast beats and solos, the songs on Immortal actually …wait for it… sound different from one another! What a novel idea!
Similar to drummer Gabe Seeber’s other project The Kennedy Veil, Alterbeast wastes no time: samples last no longer than needed; solos rip and soar without becoming tedious; and the technical passages never become self-indulgent. Songs move efficiently yet smoothly, with a perfect balance of vocals and instruments, repetition and change.
Alterbeast don’t take the sub genre to new territories, or push the boundaries of music to new places… but, what these technicians do, they do with unsurpassed quality. Immortal gift wraps the best parts of various styles into one perfectly executed package that will satisfy cravings for quality death metal.
To avoid future confusion, the following summary may help:
Immortal: corpsepaint-wearing denizens of Blashyrkh.
Immortal: blasting new classic that demands immediate purchase.
Reviewer: Witness to the Void