Alterbeast – Feast (Unique Leader)

Thursday, 25th January 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

With some significant moving and shaking since their debut Immortal, back in 2014, Alterbeast has finally returned with their follow-up release. Joining Andrew Lamb, the only remaining member from said release, is vocalist Michael Alvarez (Flub) and drummer Alex Bent (Trivium, Braindrill), to craft a release that is just as feral and primal as the name implies.

Feast will immediately draw you in with its sheer adrenaline overload. Everything about Alterbeast circa-2018 is totally frenetic and intense. From the tasteful yet intriguing blastwork of Bent that couple with the spiraling and driving riff-salad of Lamb, to Alvarez’s in your face and snarling barks/rasps (some real standout stuff here), it is nothing less than brutal at any given moment. But it never dulls the senses from beginning to end, instead working with stylish riffing that feels as playful as it does frantic and some tasteful keyboard/sound effect implementation. Some strong soloing (right from the get-go with “Welcome to Your Doom”) doesn’t hurt the cause either, nor do some well-placed grooves (“Apex Night Eclipse”) and slowdown – bringing solid songwriting chops instead of simply trying to decimate the landscape with blasts and ‘more-technical-than-thou’ demonstrations. Things get a tad more melodic towards the end, with an interesting cover of Dissection’s “Where Dead Angels Lie” showcasing more melodic sensibilities that present the blackened classic in a more deathly sheen. Closer “Upon the Face of the Deep” builds on that blackened melody and injects a full portion of death metal malice to accompany it in a way that will leave you wanting more.

Those wanting a massive dose of adrenaline that still manages to stay interesting over many listens would do well to seek out Feast. A bounty of catchy yet technically-pleasing songs await, with standout performances across the board that enhance things beyond the norm. Downright brutal in all the best ways.

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