A match made in heaven. The American drone kings Sunn O))) link arms with the Japanese doom kings Boris and form the king of all that is kingly. Altar is two bands, both renowned for their amazingness in their respective genres, coming together and taking elements from each other, fusing their styles and creating a typical drone doom album.
So yeah. As brilliant as it is, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s been done before. While it’s not quite Boris, and it’s not quite Sunn O))), it’s still the same as other bands, like Earth or the Angelic Process.
But, as I said, that’s not to say it’s not good. It’s been done before, but it’s better than most the others that have done it. And it’s not completely unoriginal; it has got an element of uniqueness to it, an emotional power rivaled only by bands such as Mono. Typical drone doom hasn’t got the same edge to it, the strength that Altar has.
The album also differs from many drone albums by varying. Many d-d albums are, while still good, just fourty minutes of the same chord played very slowly with distortion. Altar changes that. The first track is a typical d-d song, ten minutes of thick, goopy sludge in music form. Then we get four minutes of interesting, artificial-sounding noises. The third track really stands out – it’s nothing like anything either Boris or Sunn O))) have released, ever. An eight-minute epic that’s more reminiscent of a Sparklehorse or Grandaddy song. Then, you know, the record carries on – heavy bit there, soft bit here, fast bit over there. And it sounds really good.