Altus formed in Belfast at the end of 2012 and have been a hard working band since June 2013. This is their second EP, recorded and mixed by Jonny Munro (of local hardcore heroes Gacys Threads) at his Bearcat Studios in the city.
With this release, Altus have made a few changes. Firstly they have recruited a new vocalist, Matt Cordner, and secondly a change in their musical direction. Matt’s vocals are strong and hard hitting; he has a varied range within his vocals, which is unusual for his style. He is passionate front man and it really comes across on this EP.
Musically, Altus have a become a lot heavier with their direction. To quote the band themselves, “we play an aggressive strain of modern metal with a fusion of numerous styles of metal”. To me it’s a mixture of grind and hardcore with a strong melodic guitar. The production on this EP is of a very high standard, but still manages to keep that dirty roughness that is expected from this genre of metal.
The first track, ‘No Escape’, lives up to it’s title, with Matt’s distinctive growl of “1 2 3 4” before two drum beats and the force of the twin guitars blast your ears, after which there is no let up with this in-your-face song. You cannot be mistaken while listening to this EP who the band are influenced by, as it shows a very Killswitch Engage/Mastodon inspiration.
With the third track, ‘The Suffering’, there is a little let up as it’s a beautiful guitar piece which is repeated through the track, but again it has the heavy grind to it, but the two mix perfectly.
I am an Altus fan – have been since I saw them play their first gig. This change of direction was a shock to me at the start: a big change for a wee metal fan like me to take in. Having said that, the more I’ve listened to their EP, and seen them live, it is growing on me. They are a band that are going places.
No Escape / Stranger Among Men / The Suffering / Born To Exist
Recommend listening: ‘The Suffering’.