"Returned to Life"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The Memento Mori label is almost always a good bet if you're looking for primitive, gross death metal with plenty of "ick" factor. So it is with ALTERED DEAD, a duo from Canada who are sailing the same foul smelling waters as UNDERGANG, CARDIAC ARREST and the like. As usual, though, the trouble is that that sewer is kind of overflowing these days.

They get the general sound and style down pat. Nothing overproduced or too synthetic, with a pinch of GRAVE here, a touch of AUTOPSY there and just a hint of Floridian-style mayhem. I like the front half of the album better than the back, mostly because the songs are simply better. "Prosodemic Realms" and "Empustomb" are the two major ball-breakers here, with some of the sickest downtuned riffs around, particularly towards the end of the first song...that is just totally grotesque. 

Towards the end of the album, the brutality continues and actually speeds up with faster songs, but to me, they don't seem as memorable and are kind of Rotten Death 101...good, but a bit too typical. The album ends with a cover of FROST's "Into the Crypt of Rays", which is serviceable but not in the realm of the original. 

So "Returned To Life" is a reliable fix for death junkies, but not too much more.