"Poisoned Altars"

By Lord Randall

As much as Portland, Oregon's LORD DYING (or their label, most likely) would have you believing the genre in which they frolic is “sludge metal”, I call bullshit. In this day of click-to-play, and finding that obscure Cascadian/Viking/Unblack band from Peru's demo in 5 seconds as opposed to 5 months, if ever, every nuance, every hiccup in metal screams for a sub-sub-subgenre to be created. Again, bullshit. (Insert jaded rant about “nowadays metal” and “when I was starting out in metal” here). Let's just say, I came up during the time when IRON MAIDEN, SLAYER, VENOM and SAVATAGE were metal, simple as fucking that.

To its credit, Poisoned Altars is a throwback to that time, respectful without being “retro”, influenced “by” rather than imitation “of”. Throughout the album's 35+ minutes, you'll hear the aforementioned SLAYER (listen to the opening title track and tell me you don't), LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR and just enough new jack MASTODON-gone-primal to appease the up-and-comers. You'll also hear a fair bit of LORD DYING, the plodding 'Offering Pain (And An Open Minded Center)' stacking up nicely against the punked-up pugilism of 'Suckling At The Teat Of A She-Beast'.

All in all, Poisoned Altars may not win any awards for being forward-thinking or genre-defying. What will do, however, is cause uncontrollable headbanging and horn-throwing. And isn't that what metal's about anyway?