Let’s go back in time. It was 1989 when Eldritch Horror were founded in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their name and lyrics are inspired by horror literature, mainly by H.P. Lovecraft. In 2013, a board game of the same name was released. They recorded two demo tapes, “Dwelling Beneath” (1991) and “Untouched By The Sun” (1993) and had intense stage activity with names that later made history in the scene while they themselves went on hold in 1994.
Their return came several years later when they released the first (and only so far) full-length “Untouched By The Sun” in 2015, with nine re-recorded tracks from their first days, most of which were in the aforementioned demos. 2022 finds the band with new music and plans for even more in the future. The American death metallers in the EP “At The Altar Of Death” look like a very different band. Compared to the full-length, the new songs show that the musicians’ songwriting skills are to a higher level and deliver a result that personally makes me look forward to the sequel.
The tracks included here are “Graven Gods”, “A Dream Of Pan” and “The Offering”. They are characterized by changes in rhythms with very dynamic and aggressive brutal points and mid-tempo breaks with horror atmosphere. The way all this is done shows, as I said above, the songwriting level-up of the band as they keep the listener’s interest without sounding monotonous and repetitive. “The Offering” has a nice surprise with some very interesting guitar melodies that we have not heard again from the band. Very nice attempt and I hope they repeat it in the future.
In the final result, the work of the three founding members of Eldritch Horror that continue until now stands out. Solid and technical drumming by John Placko, remarkable guitar work by Dennis Shaw on riffs and solos and of course the awesome growls of David Price that sound as death metal vocals should. Mike Dean (Corrosion Of Conformity) has a significant contribution, being the producer of the EP, as well as the legend Dan Swanö (Nightingale, ex-Bloodbath, ex-Edge Of Sanity etc.) who did the mixing and mastering.
In conclusion, “At The Altar Of Death” may last only sixteen minutes but shows a band that can write high quality death metal music. As far as I know, there are other songs ready and it remains to be seen if they will be released in a series of EPs or in a full-length. This of course will depend on whether Eldritch Horror will be able to find a label to support their next steps. And I hope they will do, because they really deserve it. Until then, this EP is a great suggestion for any old-school death metal fan. And a good idea to wake-up in the morning.