Altars / Heaving Earth     

Engulfed
Nihilistic Holocaust
2012

The prime purveyors of obscure brutality in the underground, Nihilistic Holocaust, once again deliver the goods by releasing this split between this duo of butchers.  Each one of them delivers two tracks of unrelenting destruction.  

Up first is Australia's Altars.  Their style combines quirky thick riffs a la Immolation with varied doses of blazing speed.  They start with Husk which begins with a short bit of Immolation-esque riffage before exploding into warp-speed riffs and rapid-fire drums that leave your eardrums battered and ruined.  Descent immediately dashes out to a full sprint with a flurry of blast beats and deep guttural vocals.  There are hints of Altars era Morbid Angel buried in spastic violence occurring on your stereo.  The track then shifts gears into lumbering, sludgy riffs and deep, commanding vocals.  A plodding pace rises from the murk and then once again the pace leaps into a blinding tempo that leaves you exhausted.  

Taking their turn second is the Czech Republic's Heaving Earth.  Their production is somewhat more "professional" as they have a much fuller sound.  I Am Nothing gets their portion underway with a blizzard of merciless drum lines and big, thick riffs.  The vocals are more out front than Altars and Some interesting soloing makes an appearance.  A determined groove accented by guitar squeals takes the song towards its conclusion.  Into The Depths Of Abomination brings the split to a close.  Furious drums lines and militant vocal phrasing command your attention before the song takes off at full racing speed.  Heaving Earth once again shift gears as a meaty groove creates maximum carnage.  Circular riff patterns and an unrelenting segment of intense drums serve to wipeout any remaining sanity.  However a guitar solo of technical skill brings back some clarity at the 3:44 mark.  Another sinister groove surfaces afterwards and fills you with dread.  

Nihilistic Holocaust have a good ear for interesting and true death metal within the underground.  Altars and Heaving Earth are no exception.  Though i would say I found Altars less polished approach more appealing and in some ways both of these bands take me back to the nostalgia of the early 90s tape trading scene.  UGH