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Altered State - Altered State

Altered State
Altered State
by Jean-François ‘’Jackal’’ Poulin at 23 September 2019, 4:04 AM

This is a compilation of previously released demos and rehearsals from back in 1991. This is re-released on Red and Black Vinyls, in very limited quantities nonetheless. Pure Steel Records wanted to release these songs to celebrate an unsung band from back in the early nineties. To be perfectly honest, I never heard of this band at all. I chose the album because I really enjoy Progressive-Thrash Metal and the band really intrigued me. It took me some time to get some info about the band because they split up a very long time ago!

This is the project of Norman Kiersznowski better known to fans as Ski. This band was formed after Ski left the highly underappreciated band called DEADLY BLESSING. They released a Demo that was self-made back in 1991 and it created a small buzz back then. Its worth tracking down if you are a purist like many of you out there. They were pretty much lost in the shuffle back then and unfortunately they kind of faded into obscurity…until now.

The opener has some pretty sweet shredding elements and you have small and sudden shifts in the tempo and the rhythm. This reminded me a lot of FATES WARNING, those early albums with John Arch, hell, even the singer does remind me a bit of him. Ski has some outstanding pipes, the guy has some serious range and can shift seamlessly. He is like a cross between Geoff Tate from QUEENSRYCHE and the aforementioned John Arch from FATES WARNING.

‘’Off with his Head’’ could have be a HELSTAR track back in the day, it was oddly similar but this might be the best track off this album nonetheless. Old School heavy Metal with a Prog Twist, I highly enjoyed this one even though it felt a bit copied. ‘’Judge for Yourself’’ is a ballad, nothing groundbreaking but I guess they felt it was needed and showed a more emotional side of the band. Not my cup of tea but I know some of you really dig these early 90’s Metal Ballads so…

The rest of the album is a bit of everything all rolled into one and some songs are interchangeable nonetheless. Nothing really stands out for me but they are solid songs and are well worth the listen. It’s a nod to the old school (ARMORED SAINT represent!), and it’s a crying shame they were lost in the shuffle because the band had a lot going for them. They represented the genre very well and added some Power Metal elements that bands like HELLOWEEN and ICED EARTH that refined afterwards.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Mindsrealm
2. Off with His Head
3. Judge for Yourself
4. Leading Me Blindly
5. Winter Warlock
6. Mental Rage
7. Final Holocaust
8. Another Meaningless Death
9. Wizards Destiny
10. Outro
Chris Fredericks  – Bass
John Orrio – Guitars
Ski – Vocals
Todd Deputy – Drums
Doug Taylor - Guitars
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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