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Blasphemy - Blood Upon the Altar

Blood Upon the Altar
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 30 September 2018, 10:35 AM

Formed in 1984 in Burnaby, British Columbia, their first full-length came in 1990, called “Fallen Angel of Doom.” They went on hiatus from 1993-2001, and then again until 2015, when they started releasing some new Demos. “Blood upon the Altar” is actually a re-release of their 1989 Demo album and contains eight tracks.

The “Ross Bay Intro” opens with swirling winds and the repeated ringing of a bell, then vocal chants join in. It’s fairly benign to start, and leads to a forty second scorcher, “War Command,” with blast beat drumming and vocals that are indiscernible utterances. The production takes me back to the early days of the genre, unfiltered and organic. “Demoniac” rumbles forward with that wall of sound that you are used to hearing. It’s almost as if you stepped into a time machine and went back to 1985, without much of an attempt to modernize their sound at all.

“Weltering in Blood” opens with soft organ notes and spoken word that sounds like it is coming from the mouth of a beast. From, there, things continue in a linear fashion, following one traditional running riff with blast beat drumming. “Ritual” has a very traditional sounding riff, like a Thrash song of sorts. But it soon leads to barking vocals and a running guitar riff that descends down though the earth. A guitar solo is pretty out of place here but I give it an A for effort. “Nocturnal Slayer” is similar in both sound, length, and rhythm, and could be a continuation of the track that came before it. It rains down mercilessly, barely giving you the chance to breathe.

“Blasphemy” brings some variation to the table. It opens with a funky groove, but soon leads to the madness that you have heard in other tracks. Here, the brief guitar solo seems to make more sense. “Blasphemous Attack” leads off with creepy organ notes and then the insanity resumes. It ends with what sounds like a bomb going off.

Overall, I am a bit puzzled. It’s not as though I don’t like this brand of Black Metal, it’s just that “why now” is it being re-released? With the genre diversifying faster than you can keep up, is there room for the old guard like BLASPHEMY anymore? Well, in some ways that doesn’t matter, because they are here to stay, and giving homage to the early sounds of the genre with straight up blistering writing. If you are a fan of old school Black Metal, I am sure you will find this album to your liking.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Ross Bay Intro
2. War Command
3. Demoniac
4. Weltering in Blood
5. Ritual
6. Nocturnal Slayer
7. Blasphemy
8. Blasphemous Attack
Nocturnal Grave Desecrator And Black Winds – Vocals
Caller of the Storms – Guitars
Deathlord Of Abomination And War Apocalypse – Guitars
3 Black Hearts Of Damnation And Impurity – Drums
V. Kusabs - Bass – Live Session
Vaz - Drums – Live Session
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions


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