Death maulers Malignant Altar pay tribute to classic horror on ‘Realms of Exquisite Morbidity’

It’s going to be Christmas kind of soon, and sure, that’s all fine, but the better holiday happens at the end of October when terror is in your veins. I spend that entire month delving into my admittedly pedestrian horror movie collection, but I absolutely love going through my favorite films from that genre and grossing myself out.

Texas-bred death metal killers Malignant Altar feast from the 1980s horror table, and that’s where I’m coming from as well having cut my teeth on the movies of that era growing up. The band’s destructive debut record “Realms of Exquisite Morbidity” is one of those that, yeah, should please you blood-and-guts death metal fans, but if you have a penchant for the gross and puss-filled, then this album is going to bring you back to the days where Halloween is in the air. The band—vocalist Wilson Prevette, guitarists Josh Bokemeyer and Beau Beasley, bassist Mat Aleman, drummer Dobber Beverly—pours their absolute worst intentions into these six tracks and 34 minutes that will outright crush you.

“Channeling Impure Apparitions” chimes in and sets a mystical scene before engulfing you in flames. Deathly hell begins to stomp the earth as brutality has its way with your senses, guitar haze gets thicker, and the track comes to a beastly end. “Usurping the Pantheon Crown” opens in a nasty fury with vicious growls and scathing power, with the drums crumbling buildings. The playing gets even more ferocious as your brains are scrambled, a strange mist gusts and batters your brains, and the track ends amid slow mauling and disgusting fury. “Belial Rebirth (Metempsychosis)” serves up beastly howls and the drums splattering as the band hits on all cylinders. Shrieks erupt as the playing punishes you dearly, mixing ugliness with a humid haze that wilts flesh and gutting violence. The guitars light up, melodies sear into flesh, and the track ends in unforgiving pain.

“Realms of Exquisite Morbidity” is an instrumental interlude that has sounds wafting and a strange aura surrounding you, testing your limits before showing you into “Ceremonial Decapitator” that outright smothers from the start. The riffs slice as the growls explode with gargantuan power, erupting and destroying the ground beneath you. Speed explodes as the bass flexes its muscles and bruises, the guitars heat up dangerously, and the final moments encase you in ice. “Rite of Krasue” is your finisher, dawning with the drums killing everything in sight, the bass mauling, and doom bells chiming, warning of your imminent demise. Slow-burning death gnaws at bone, the power renders you powerless, and the playing threatens your survival as you’re left on the scrap heap.

The disgust and bloody horror at your feet when taking on “Realms of Exquisite Morbidity” is thick and apparent mere seconds into Malignant Altar’s debut full-length offering. It’s impossible to avoid or work around, and you are at the band’s mercy as they bludgeon you with their sinewy brand of death metal. This late-year addition to death metal’s stellar 2021 wipes another layer of blood and filth on top of an accumulating body count that should disgust anyone with any sense of decency.

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