Harvest Gulgaltha – Altars of Devotion

Rating: 3/5
Distributor/label: Nuclear War Now!
Distributor/label URL: http://www.nwnprod.com/
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Tracklistings: harvest gulgaltha - altars cover

1. A Vision Unleashed
2. Unholy Cipher
3. Transcend the Wrathful
4. Trance of a Tormented Hymn
5. Serpentine Path
6. Necromantic Calling
7. Ritual of Traditional Sacrifice
8. Blood of Creation

Band line-up:



Harvest Gulgaltha self-released their demo, simply called ‘I’, back in 2012. In 2014, ‘I’ was discovered by Nuclear War Now!, and it was released on vinyl. This was with the agreement that Harvest and NWN! would join forces, to release the band’s debut album, ‘Altars of Devotion’, in 2017. This enigmatically named ensemble, are writers of a form of music that is equally enigmatic. They call their genre, ‘cryptic necromantic black death metal’. ‘That sounds interesting’, I hear you say. IS it interesting, though? Read on…

Like much death/black metal, listening to this album, is like listening to a war. The low end, droning growl of the bass and guitars, particularly in the first track, can be compared to the roaring engines of tanks. No prizes for guessing what the screams throughout the record can be compared to. That’s right, people dying. Or more accurately, monsters dying. There are a range of tempos throughout this album; rapid tremolo picked ideas, in the style of Slayer, can turn to doom paced, power chord walls of sound, without warning. The riffs and beats may be painfully slow at times, but this only makes them more terrifying; like a lorry slowly coming towards you, as you lay immobilised on the ground.

Some of the ideas in this album are repetitive, but not in a tiresome way, more of a taunting way. Keeping up with the war theme, picture a captured commando being tortured, by being repeatedly hit in the face. Simplicity is also a key feature of the music, here. Not only can this band stay on the same riff for a long period of time, but even the same note can get milked. This has a hypnotic effect on the listener, making him or her helpless to prepare for the new wave of savagery, that is always around the corner. The drummer has a great groove, making his chaotic loops surprisingly refreshing. Every hit of the drum has a new volume, and is just that tiny bit behind or in front of the beat, so you never truly know what to expect. This is honest music, that is both tasteful and skilled, it’s not computer perfected, robotic material. It is modern day battle music, rather than futuristic warfare, if you will.

Despite HG’s many strengths, some listeners may desire more creativity from them. Grunts, repeatedly plucked guitar patterns and blast beats, whilst fun, are far from obscure, and these are the backbone of their music. Perhaps the music could do with more melodic interest, that could be provided through some clean vocals, or added higher pitched guitar parts. Because of this, whilst this music is great for moshing to, it may well grow old quickly, to the hardened or even perhaps part time metalhead. However, if you seek death metal that is both unpretentious and confident enough to know that sometimes basic, yet addictive ideas can get rehashed, this could be right up your street. After all, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of familiarity, every now and then.

Review by: Simon the Mighty