Left Cross – Upon Desecrated Altars

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From Richmond Virginia comes an unruly and malicious force that brings with it a dark offering of evil, cavernous, somewhat dissonant OSDM with a slight war metal tinge to it. This is brutal, pummeling, no frills death metal that hits the listener hard again and again with the force of a sledge hammer to the face, then buries them in an unmarked grave at the edge of the cemetery. I would definitely say that the album art truly captures the essence of the release itself. The horde of satanic knights charging into battle on the cover represent the malice, darkness and ferocity auditory assault that the band bring upon the listener.

Artist: Left Cross

Album Upon Desecrated Altars

Label: Profound Lore Records

Release Date: November 10, 2023

Location: Richmond, Virginia

Written by James Sweetlove

From Richmond Virginia comes an unruly and malicious force that brings with it a dark offering of evil, cavernous, somewhat dissonant OSDM with a slight war metal tinge to it. This is brutal, pummeling, no frills death metal that hits the listener hard again and again with the force of a sledge hammer to the face, then buries them in an unmarked grave at the edge of the cemetery.

If you like your death metal to have melodic base or progressive elements, then you’ve come to the wrong place. The band aren’t here for that, they’re here to deliver uncompromisingly evil death metal in its purest form. Having said that, the album does have plenty of moments of melodic headbangable moments, but these are tucked in between the discordant and chaotic energy of the rest of the release.

I would definitely say that the album art truly captures the essence of the release itself. The horde of satanic knights charging into battle on the cover represent the malice, darkness and ferocity auditory assault that the band bring upon the listener. The art work was actually what initially drew me in to check out the album, as did the band’s logo, a horrifically filthy dripping mess.

For me there are three key elements deserving of praise on the album. I’ll start with the instruments, particularly the guitar, which gives us a downtuned, evil sound that adds an element of horror to the album’s overall sound. The riffs vary from menacing tension building offerings to wild unruly flurries that lash out without warning. The more melodic, traditional OSDM guitar segments that get worked in occasionally are such a refreshing touch and always well received among the dissonance of the rest of the album. Despite being more melodic, they still have an evil, menacing tinge to them and the force and power behind them has the power to cause the listener to make more than a few stank faces.

The drums on the album would be the second element worthy of praise. They are simply fantastic, offering quite a bit of variety as they shift from a traditional death metal style to the martial ferocity of war metal. They often present at breakneck speed, hitting the listener with an unrelenting assault of pounding and hammering.

Lastly I wanted to praise the vocals on the album, which are as powerful as they are evil. We get two distinct styles, a deeply guttural style that sounds as if it could be coming directly from a chaos demon from the Warhammer 40K universe and an equally as evil more shrieked style, that at times sits half way between the two with an almost gurgled sound to it. These vocals explode out of the mix, with a commanding presence that simply cannot be ignored as they utter unholy verses.

Overall the album is one hell of a listen and I highly recommend it for any death metal fans, particularly those who like a little more dissonance to their music. The inclusion of war metal elements throughout the album gives it that much of a raw edge and elevates it above release from many of the band’s contemporaries. I personally can’t wait to see what comes next for the band.

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