Unearthing the Metal Underground: Houston's death metal machine Malignant Altar
Band Photo: Malignant Altar (?)
Houston and its surrounding area has been a goldmine of extreme music for decades. Houstonian soil has given birth to thrash metal icons DRI, demonic death metal legends Imprecation, and the battle-ready grindcore outfit PLF, to mention but a few. A newer name making waves in the underground is Malignant Altar, a considerably thick and heavy brutal death metal band that sucks insatiably from the sap of classic American death metal. With two well-received demos under its belt since forming in 2018 (their rendition of Celtic Frost’s “Procreation of the Wicked” from the “Ceremonial Decapitator” demo is a special treat), the quintet is poised to release it’s debut album, “Realms of Exquisite Morbidity,” on December 10, 2021, via the revered label Dark Descent Records.
“Realms of Exquisite Morbidity” offers half a dozen cuts of spirited, timeless American death metal that leverages Malignant Altar’s subtle penchant for melody and thoughtful songwriting as much as it does its ability to unleash ferocious, down-tuned death metal fury. Considering the band’s pedigree—the band includes former members of Insect Warfare, War Master and Oceans of Slumber—there should be little surprise that Malignant Altar is as good as it is. “Channeling Impure Apparitions” busts out at the album’s onset with knuckle-dragging brutality and a glorious death metal spirit. Elsewhere, “Belial Rebirth” and “Ceremonial Decapitator” crawl forth with a slower tempo that’s more accessible and digestible than the material highlighted on the band’s demos, but the new music is no less acerbic. Malignant Altar is clearly an act to pay attention to if death metal is one of your musical drugs of choice.
Jay H. Gorania is a long time metal journalist and sings for Trench Warfare. He also writes for Blabbermouth and Hellbound.ca and has in the past edited for Pit and written for Metal Maniacs, Unrestrained!, Hails and Horns, AMP and Outburn as well as other media outlets.
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