Couldn't contain my excitement when I excavated this CD from the envelope that it came in. Altar were always my favorite band in terms of creating death metal that is 1000% brutal and relentless. I've been following the band since the days of their demo called "And God Created Satan to Blame For His Mistakes", and I have to tell you that this crazy bunch has gotten exponetially better with each release. Again, "Provoke" is a great album, slightly different from what they did on "Ego Art". However, the bottomline is the same - this is as heavy as YOUR MOMMA!
This time out the band has gone through some line-up changes, namely they got a new drummer and a new guitar player (which means that the core of the band changed since the days of their debut "Youth Against Christ). Taking in account that Marcel used to be in Mandator, we can safely say that Altar now have a knack for successfully integrating relentless blasting death into a framework of a more traditional heavy metal. This time it is even more evident with the tracks like "Silent Force" being very much an early Metallica-styled ditties brutalized by the skillful bombarding death metal. Don't take me wrong, grind is still the word of the day, Altar aren't a band to wimp out and start churning out weak stuff! Just check out songs like "Cleaning Day" or "Wrong Night". They sound sinister and bring an extremely nihilistic mood into their usual trademark brutality.
Actually, this time around Altar have managed to incorporate a significant amount of melodic riffs into their material. Surprisingly, it fits very well, considering the level of their usual extremity. "Wasted World" is a good example of their new sound, very reminiscent of the late Carcass mixed with a healthy dose of a tradtional Scandinavian melodicism; a very brutal version of what At the Gates did on their last album. And don't forget a superb cover of "Fast As Shark"! It should've been called "Fast as Altar" though, since the band made it sound the way Udo and the guys could've played it after a healthy dose of PCP.
Altar have proven to us again that death metal can be both melodic and extreme without deteriorating into cock rock-like garbage. I'd suspect that their next album will be even more centered around their newfound taste for fusing a classic metal sound with a devastating death metal assault. But who knows at this point? In a meantime, I strongly recommend that you check out "Provoke" as it may easily become the best metal album of 1998!