Alterbeast – Immortal (Unique Leader)

Monday, 24th February 2014
Rating: 9/10

Unique Leader has seemingly cornered the market with exceptionally strong releases to start off 2014. First was The Kennedy Veil, then came Soreption, and now comes Alterbeast. Hailing from the recent death metal breeding ground of Sacramento, California, Alterbeast shares not only the ability to provide shredding tech-death that holds onto a semblance of songwriting structure with that of UL label-mates The Kennedy Veil, but also their blast-happy drummer extraordinaire Gabe Seeber.

Alterbeast’s sound could most creatively be described as the bastard child of Spawn of Possession and The Black Dahlia Murder, being raised on a steady diet of Suffocation. Be sure to enjoy the classical piano that is offered at the beginning of the opening “Flesh Bound Text,” as it’s the only reprieve that you will get for the next 30 minutes. Frequently rampaging ahead at top speed, the alternating growl/screams will undoubtedly remind you of Trevor Strnad, but with a more high tech riff department behind him. The opening moments of “Ancient’s Retribution” comes across as the most brain-melting moments of technically driven material (seriously, wow) but they are balanced by plenty of brutality infused moments like the visceral “Into Oblivion” that cater towards the song itself instead of trying to out-tech the listener. Alterbeast isn’t afraid to bludgeon their audience either, with frequent trips into NYDM-styled breakdowns (“Mutated Marvel”) that are almost sure to induce near-riots when the band performs live.

Alterbeast’s success ultimately lies not in their sheer brutality and technical playing, but their focus on writing actual songs instead of robotic wank-fests. There is something to be said for a band that can perform adequately at frenetic speeds yet purposely and meticulously drops things down with a slick groove (“Throne of Maggots”) to deliver a more well-rounded approach to their songs. With a debut of this magnitude, Alterbeast are well on their way to reaching the upper echelon of death metal.

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