Saturday 9 January 2021

Alltar - Live At Ceremony Of Sludge

Labels: Monochord Records

Formats: CD/Digital

Release Date: 12 Feb 2021


1. Intro

2. Arcana

3. Interlude

4. War Altar

5. Ceremony Of Sludge

6. Cantillate

If you'd have said to me that the second 2021 release I'd be featuring on here would be a live album, I would have said "I can't remember the last live album I featured". In fact, I don't think I've ever featured one (though I may be wrong). This one comes courtesy of Oregon, USA's Alltar and features their set from Ceremony Of Sludge IX, which took place last March in Portland and included sets from Usnea, Brume, Glasghote and Zyl. The set is due for release both digitally and also on CD via Monochord Records in February.

After the short but intrigue-building ‘Intro’, Alltar immediately launches into ‘Arcana’, their first song proper and it’s a progressive, doom-laden masterpiece, which sounds incredible for a live recording. I feel that’s going to be the main theme of this album. I’ve seen Alltar being compared to some of doom metal’s greats and certainly on listening to both the vocals and instrumentation so far, I can see why. They sound remarkably tight as a unit.

After just one full song, they see fit to through in an ‘Interlude’, which seems a little odd though I’d guess their set time probably wasn’t long enough to justify adding another lengthier song into the set. ‘War Altar’ is a heavily instrumental piece that edges further towards post-metal and it’s also got a good chunk of folk within it’s bars. The vocals are atonal when they kick in but soon open up, showing Juan Carlos Caceres’s range much like ‘Arcana’ earlier on. There are brief bursts of harsher vocals later on, which match the bigger riffs but they don’t overpower things and the groove that Alltar possesses wins out in the end.

‘Ceremony Of Sludge’ reminds you that this is a live set, as if it wasn’t for the band’s interaction with the crowd, you wouldn’t have guessed this was live given how good the recoding is. The song itself is a cosmic interlude that leads into Alltar’s closing song ‘Cantillate’ and it’s a great one to end on. Overall, another fine slab of doom/post-metal with some heavier influences thrown in as well. Alltar’s lengthy compositions are really well performed and mature. 

As I said above, this release feels a little short on full songs, but Alltar only had limited time to play with so that’s to be forgiven. What they have done though is to really put themselves in a position of strength where they can get noticed by a whole host of new listeners and fans of heavy music. This is great.

You can stream 'War Altar' prior to release below, where the album is available for both digital and physical pre-order:-

Alltar -

Monochord Records -

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