BLACK ALTAR "Death Fanaticism"
BlackMetalReviews.com / Score: 666/666
Black Altar is probably the most criminally-underrated Black Metal artist around. The Polish entity has barely put a hoof wrong throughout his career and 'Death Fanaticism' - which originally saw the darkness of night on CD three years ago - really comes into its own in glorious vinyl format. Quite simply, this is one of the most essential records I've bought this year. If you enjoy great BM with an evil, eerie vibe, then you can't go wrong with this 54-minute slab of malevolence.
A luxurious gatefold LP edition affords the album a new lease of life, with larger artwork than a measly CD and lyrics etc. included on the inner-fold section. But it's the mind-blowing, horrific music that takes centre stage. For me, Black Altar captures the essence of pure evil in his music, a feat that so many other bands fail miserably to accomplish. He just possesses that something extra, a special ingredient, an innately-base sound that elevates his musick above the norm.
Unimaginative band name aside, Black Altar ticks all the boxes. Assisted by a slew of session musicians, sole member Shadow ploughs through nine tracks of infectious Black Metal, effortlessly switching between all out aggression and dark ambience as well as touching on everything in between. There's a keen sense of melody snaking through the album, tying everything together seamlessly, and the production is everything you'd expect from an awesome underground release.
I don't possess the adjectives or superlatives to do this one justice. Maybe I'm all written out. But suffice to say 'Death Fanaticism' is one of the most potent, relevant, mandatory chunks of atmospheric, raw Black Metal you've ever going to hear. Buy it on vinyl; it's a decision you'll never regret.
Metal Krypt webzine
Too bad this is the first time I'm having a chance to listen to Black Altar, because this is damn good music! Death Fanaticism spells loud and clear: "darkly great Black Metal!" Now we're talking about serious business! The shit!
I can only appreciate the talent of this crazy musician, while being fascinated by this original sound and intense atmosphere. High quality Black Metal people! Not of the raw type, or of the over-produced style either. I just love their sound! Crazy/sick rasps, female operatic vocals, ghostly voices and keyboards, distorted leads and arpeggios, crunchy riffs, cool time signatures, varied paces, industrial/ambient passages and pummeling drums. Even the double basses sound awesome and pounding, as compared to the too often Power Metal-ish, mechanical (drum machines), or even cardboard-sounding. The only weak spot is the closing title track, a 13+ minutes ambient/dark instrumental, which is way too long for my own taste. Other than that, just excellent and original Black Metal with a certain cinematic/ghostly atmosphere, executed with top notch musicianship. Among my favorite compositions are: "The Antihuman Manifesto", "Decomposition ov Life", and "The Void".
Death Fanaticism is a superb and different piece of Black Metal arts.
Cosmic Gaming | Autor: Chris Dahlberg
While Black Altar front man Shadow has been busy with his other project Kriegsgott, four years after the band released its debut full length it is back with Death Fanaticism. Around since 1996, Black Altar has had a few demos and split releases before putting out a self titled full length in 2004. And on Death Fanaticism the group continues its nonstop black metal assault. Offering some old school and powerful riffs and vocals, Black Altar has continued to get better and better with this new release and is definitely a band that genre fans will want to be familiar with.
The riffs on this album hit extremely hard and are made even better by the great production values. The style is much closer to traditional Norwegian and Polish black metal, and it is clear that Black Altar has taken much inspiration from some of the founders of those scenes. However, there are a few songs where the band breaks out from its harshness to offer a few melodic breaks. A few of the tracks feature keyboards in the background, which are used to add creepy and atmospheric melodies into the already chilling guitar arrangements. Overall, the styles here may not be new but they are well put together and definitely will hook black metal fans.
Black Altar’s vocalist, Shadow has a very harsh and biting style that is sure to please listeners. Unlike some of the more recent black metal groups, the screaming/shrieking on Death Fanaticism sounds truly evil and has so much energy that it almost overpowers the instrumentals at times. In addition to this, the group has also added some backing vocals in the form of choir style humming that helps to add extra atmosphere to the band’s sound.
In the course of four years, Black Altar has gone from a competent black metal band to one that deserves to be known by fans of the genre. Death Fanaticism really feels like a significant improvement over its predecessor, and if the band can continue the progression showcased here than they will surely be near the top of the harsh/old school sounding black metal pack. Though they may sound like many that have come before, Black Altar still has what it takes to make an impression on their listeners.
Culture Asylum Magazine
Black Altar: Do you like Black Metal? Do you like it old school and pure fucking evil? Then the band hailing from Poland known as Black Altar is what you need. This is Black Altars second release, titled Death Fanaticism. This is a spectacular release from Odium Records is in the vein of raw old school Black Metal with an undefined edge and distinct vision. The instrumentation is pure evil and brutal. Shadow is responsible for this project and shows he knows how to do instrumentation and structure as well as menacing vocals that are not of this realm. I personally cannot find any flaws; anyone that is really true and pure about their Black Metal will be pleased. To find out how to purchase this blistering release, go to –altar–horde.com.
NeKronos Promotion HELL
Here we are to present and review the latest terrorizing BLACK ALTAR Work - "Death Fanaticism", spreading their Horror Black Metal Art in all its wicked essence! A release for the adepts of the Black Arts of Metal! Truly a release not to be missed if you are into Black Metal without such usual sweetness that has been inflicted into its blackest origins these days!
NeKronos Promotion HELL
„I abandon my flesh, I leave my deeds behind, My consciousness enters another dimension, Funeral songs echo around, I walk proudly onto the path of Death, No return, I step into immortality” PATH OV DEATH
I got my first contact with BLACK ALTAR back in the „Wrath of the Gods” split with Vesania (Polish Symphonic Black Metal) times, by then I noticed that BLACK ALTAR surely had allot to grow up with, their essence was really impressive and their blackest arts of metal terror where quite out of the pack! Must say that this „Death Fanaticism” is their best work ever! A true album for Black Metal adepts, full of inspired powerful horror propaganda lyrics fruit of darkly inspired tormented wicked souls, a release that keeps the Black Metal essence b(o)urn to this world by bands like Bathory, Celtic Frost, etc!
BLACK ALTAR sound is easy to be defined, it's an „in your face” Black Metal. Deep, terrorizing, obscure, disturbing, heart ripping, furious, blasphemous and powerful this are some ways to describe their identity, essence and sound!
This release is a huge step forwards in their career putting them musically on the level of other Kult bands such as Watain, Carpathian Forest, Satyricon. Darkthrone, Marduk, Immortal, just to name few of them who are also bands you can easily relate them with! The production by Szymon Czech (Studio X) is pretty clean and allows you to listen to all „tools of ear torture” with a good definition, abandoning the „analog rough sound monotony” that some bands seem to follow as if it was a blinding religion within the Black Metal scene. I find it absurd to keep your music sounding like crap to be true to the origins of Black Metal, there is always something called EVI(o)Lution!
„Death Fanaticism” is quite uniform, keeping a terrorizing essence from start to the end! The bright use of keyboards surely cracks the usual monotony on todays Black Metal! Still I would like to mention some Christraping highlights like the opening track „The Antihuman Manifesto” or „Widmo śmierci” unveiling BLACK ALTAR piercing furious formula at best. Songs like „Decomposition ov Life” and „Path ov Death” unveil some dynamic passages of a more rocked Black Metal Propaganda in the vein of Satyricon/Darkthrone this days to bring some good dose of dark balance to their sound! „Kingdom of Razors” goes still in the last tunes vein becoming also another highlight where you are brought upon a world of hurt and pleasure though musical torture!
Must say that the instrumental tracks are a good piece of obscure art also, while the „Gate to Immortality” track brings you upon a haunted realm of obscure breathtaking splendour in the other hand „Death Fanaticism” takes you to a empty void of psychotic and hallucinating dimensions, a true disturbing way to end this Black Metal piece of art!
In all „Death Fanaticism” reveals a cleaner definition of BLACK ALTAR, putting their sound on the top of what is being made in the genre. An experience that shouldn't be missed by fans of Black Metal who are more into some bitter and disturbing coldness than some sweeter melodic darkness. This album has unleashed another obscure beast in the Black Realms of Metal! Keep this name in mind; they are making the difference already!
Terror Cult Magazine | Autor: Waldemar
Shadow although how weird it might sound is still creating his own vision of so called Horror Black Metal. Saying funny wanted just to point out this word „horror” while nowadays it does only reflect the shitty condition of the movies without any ambience or mood around it. Well I konw how different these two genres of are are but both at this time are using same slogan to describe the work. Don't be affraid that you'll find any cheap horror shit like Paris Hilton beeing killed (her best scene ever haha) or gore pointless crap. Black Altar has created some time ago its own path and it is following it with good effect still transforming to new forms of obscurity or how Shadow would like to call it „horror” stuff. Probably it does really sound cheeky but „horror” as a pre–description before words Black Metal is just kind of funny. Fair enough Black Altar is still participating in aura of mixed hate and something I would call fear with agression, bringing some kind of unique music which is modern approach to Black Metal but still so deeply in rooted in tradition of rawness and clarity of this genre. Shadow is not affraid to use some elements that might seem to be „not in place” for some like keyboards or other ambient sound effects; honestly these do strenghten the atmosphere, evilness and cruelty of this album. Also Black Altar is still walking the path of technical riffs, more then only four riffs per song you know hehe. It is arranged so well that probably even for some orthodox manics will be suitable to join this insanity. The only questionable thing is the ambient at the end of the album but it is ok while you can just start to play it from the begining. „Death Fanaticism” is memorable album which you should have in your collection, even if not only for Black Metal then for Metal itself while it is very rich in so many musical patterns album and you'll recognise this special play from the begining. All in all Black Altar has got its own style.
Funeral March Mag (Sweden) | Autor: O.O.
This is the second full length album from the Polish, nowadays, one man band Black Altar. Black Altar was formed in 1996 and two full lengths isn't that much over 13 years. But it is better to release records of good quality instead of just making a lot of albums that sound like shit. Black Altar sure makes good music, it is very well performed, the sound is excellent, it is good produced. It contains what you should expect from a really good black metal record. The atmosphere is very good, there is a good depth in the songs as well as it is rather raw. I think all songs are good but I have one favourite and that is The Void. It contains some elements that make the song really good. This I will not explain deeper, you have to listen to it yourself. I really haven't got much to say about this. Black Altar is a really good band I will for sure continue to listen to this and I am really looking forward to hear upcoming material.
Encyklopedia Metallum | Autor: Lord_Byleth
Four years after their first self–title album, Black Altar (or maybe only Shadow) returns with another opus. If you listened to the first album you will notice that the band has evolved.
First, you can hear that the production has changed and is perfect for this kind of music: I mean for fast and brutal Black Metal. Some amateur bands like to have a crappy sound with buzzing guitars to cover their poor songwriting and some other bands prefer to have a really sharp sound, borderline overproduction. Death Fanaticism is well produced, the sound is clear, and all instruments are hearable (including the bass guitar). The production is perfect because there is still a dark feeling in the music, keeping the main goal for Black Altar: offer an obscure Black Metal to the listener.
The sound of the guitar is clean, and the riffing is awesome, especially on the track „Path Ov Death”. You know, this band is not what I can call innovative... but if the riffs are good and well–written, would I expect more from the guitar? Hell no, bands like Black Altar are legions, but few of them are able to write good music, which is not hidden behind a wall of noise or screamed vocals.
Speaking about vocals, Shadow has not an incredible voice, but his raspy vocals fit with his music and his lyrics are almost understandable. To be honest, I don't care about the lyrics because Black Altar is about standard Black Metal lyrics: death of humanity and blood, that's all.
The booklet comes with the lyrics, a picture of Shadow, some draws with a hanged priest, nothing special. I prefer this kind of booklet rather than albums with a tr00 black two–pages booklet so with Death Fanaticism I'm pleased.
In conclusion, the music on Death Fanaticism is in the vein of the first album: standard Black Metal well written without massive flaws and goods riffs. Not the best band in the genre, but still very good. I hope for some innovations in the future.