Red Brick Army
On their debut album, Conclusions, Altars aim their attack somewhere between the prayer bench and the mosh pit as they burn through a set of pummeling, praise-filled tunes. The Colorado Springs, Colo.–based quintet hits hard and heavy from the opening track onward, with the meditative acoustic instrumental “Ryland” and the atmospheric electric tunes “Portlen” and “Realization” providing a temporary truce from the all-out sonic assault. Like many of their Facedown labelmates past and present, Altars stress both muscle and spirit in their music. Vocalist Cannan Smith sustains a level of white-hot fury as he testifies in harsh, throat-shredding tones to his own brokenness and redemption in tracks like “Scum” and “Revelation.” Within the band’s hardcore perimeters, the album offers frenetic punk assaults (“Unknowing”), ear-mauling breakdowns (“Shepherds”), and melodic (but still desperate) ballads (“Revelation”). The title track pours on searing guitar riffage and beat blasts, driving the album’s message home.