ALTERED DEAD "Returned To Life" CD (Memento Mori 2021)
The highly anticipated 2nd full-length by this Canadian band. With beginnings in 2011, Altered Dead are a two-piece contributing to the tradition of early Death Metal with a simple and therefore genuine approach: no frills, filthy and raw, proudly influenced by the likes of Autopsy, Death Breath, Grave, Asphyx, Darkthrone, Unleashed, Exhumed and Carnage. Released in 2016, Altered Dead´s debut album, simply self-titled, was a cornucopia of darkness and utter death. Twisted and gross riffs ripped alongside warring treads of percussion, with the accompaniment of scalded and bellowing dual vocals mangling the listener´s mind. Similarly, lyrical themes revolved around physical and mental warfare, mutating human nature and imminent conflict and collapse. Currently residing in Esquimalt, on southern Vancouver Island, the duo have had numerous live performances and subsequently started work on their long-awaited 2nd full-length. At last it arrives, bearing the ever-fitting title "Returned to Life". Be forewarned, though, as there´s no "Life Metal" here: only utter death, once again, and darkness eternal, of course. The strikingly sick and psychedelic cover art by Matt Sidney should give some clues as to where Altered Dead are coming from here: tendrils of slimy and viscous riffage rising from the muck to ensnare martial mid-tempo gallops and frequent detours into doomed-out despair. The sum effect is infinitely headbanging as it is scabrously sewer-dredging, but rest assured that Altered Dead place a premium on stridently classic songwriting as their aforementioned forebears did at the dawn of the 90's: hooks, line and sinking... into the primordial abyss! Thus, "Returned to Life" is both backwards-looking as well as inward-looking -as in inward into that very same abyss. And, it also bears re-emphasizing that Altered Dead are a duo; however, for only two people, the band create a world-eating sound far larger than their pared-down membership may convey on paper. Credit due to Loïc Fontaine for his clear and crushing mastering job at Krucyator Studio, France. Closing with a faithful cover of Celtic Frost's "Into the Crypts of Rays", Altered Dead deliver traditional Death Metal perfection with "Returned to Life".