I’ve gotten to know some of the guys in ALTAR OF DAGON over the past year or so, and yet never heard any of their music till recently. Weird, right? The lead singer Chapel Stormcrow, in addition to having one hell of a set of pipes, is one of THE coolest dudes in the Philly-area metal scene. So when I became the first (that’s right, FIRST, BITCHES!!) person to get my hands on their brand new album Nacht Der Untoten (July 9, Elder Evil Records) I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts with all of you. To say I’m honored to be the first is an understatement. I know how much it means to put your heart and soul into something and then lay it out there for vultures like me.
So, let’s begin. The first song “Nacht Der Untoten” has an intro that sounds very much inspired by the story “B-17” from the 1981 film Heavy Metal before it takes off at a full metal gallop, the twin guitars of Dale “Devilston” Shrewsbury and Rich “Saculus” Fuester raging like hell in a way that would make the boys in JUDAS PRIEST proud. This bleeds over into “Tag Danach” and the rhythm section of Ben Kaminski (bass) and Kevin Volker (drums) stomp their mark all over this thing. “Dealbreaker”, a favorite, is more powerful asskickery (shut up! I’ve made it a word!) with Stormcrow employing a mean, nasty, raspy growl over some double-kick drum action.
Three songs in and one thing is clear: ALTAR OF DAGON means fucking business! There’s no pussyfooting around with this band. Their music may tell a story, but they’re gonna beat you senseless while they tell it, so deal with it. For “Dagonian Death Rider” the guitars are set to some crazy, otherworldly tone that adds another dimension to the song. I’m not sure WHAT combination of settings and pedals that is, but it sounds very, very cool! “Cthulhu Calling” is like a goddamn jackhammer that simply won’t quit, and it was another one I loved immediately.
One of the more unique songs on the record is definitely the six-minute plus “Space Metal Juggernaut” and that’s by no means a bad thing. The trippy sequencing effects courtesy of Fuester definitely add something to a song that was already plenty heavy, and it’s a nice touch. I’ve talked about a few I really liked so far, but without a doubt the absolute best track on this CD is “Ahnruk Skullsplitter”. Just yesterday I was running around at the day gig screaming, “WARRIOR! HERO!” because this thing had me so amped up.
“Darsha and Molivan” is another kickass racehorse guaranteed to get folks moving and closer “The Runner” is simply riff-tastic with a similar guitar sound to “Dagonian.” Man, these two axemen sure know their business. After spinning this album for almost a week now I can definitely say that Nacht Der Untoten is a winner. Everyone in this band, from the guitarists, to the bassist and drummer, to the vocalist, brings their A-game, and the results are definitely something they can be proud of. And I personally can’t wait to hear these tunes live next week at the ALTAR OF DAGON CD release show at Bar XIII on July 9.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Ahnruk Skullsplitter”, “Dealbreaker”, “Cthulhu Calling”, “The Runner”, “Nacht Der Untoten”