Southern California’s Judgement Day unleashed their new album The Altar through On The Attack Records on January 20th.
The Altar is a 6 song album of gritty hardcore that sets the bar high for hardcore in 2015.
The Altar features some notable guest artists: Chad Paramore of Messengers, Noah Friend of World of Pain, and Brandon Schieppatti of Bleeding Through.
The album opens with guitar, rain, and a thunder crash – a motif that will be returned to at the end of the album. “Age of Innocence” also incorporates some spoken word. This is one of my favorites on the album with the heavy sludgy breakdown ending out the song.
“Seek” is a killer two-minute onslaught – all the frenzied guitar, speed, and aggression that I love about hardcore. This is the kind of song I could never tire of with its heavy, chunky breakdowns. “Seek” will have you fist-pumping along: ”Seek the master, break the curse, slay the beast”
“Visions of a Sanctuary” reminds that “one day all will stand before the High Priest.” Another heavy-hitter, that slows down for more clean sung parts.
“Rise” is a quick, furious, metallic hit. Even in 30 seconds, Judgment Day brings it: “Blood on your hands/tears in your eyes/ there is a cure to this madness/You will not fall, you will rise.”
“The Altar” has some of the coolest drum work on this album. It may be the most memorable track with all its speed and the repetition of “return to the altar.”
The album’s closer, “New World Prophecy,” musically mimics some things we’ve seen at the beginning of the album, but also rounds out the themes of last days, standing before the high priest, and returning to the altar. Amidst chaos we hear “Fire will burn down cleansing the altar/ fire will burn down cleansing the earth.” Later on, “The day of judgement is at hand, pray to your Master, rebuild the holy altar.”
The Altar is a non-stop, breakdown-heavy thrill of American hardcore.
Judgement Day’s The Altar earns a 4/5 – lyrically and musically a heavy and rewarding listen.