Corrupt Moral Altar are a band with an impressive pedigree. Hailing from the industrial north, and having spent time on stage supporting the likes of Brutal Truth, Extreme Noise Terror and Psycroptic, you can guess that their bastardizing of hardcore punk, sludge and grind is a Molotov cocktail of fury and rage ready to ignite at any moment.
Mechanical Tides is the blistering debut album from these Liverpudlian destroyers, and it’s as savage, visceral and brutal as you’d hope. Father Tongue opens proceedings with a barrage of Brutal Truth worship; it’s a rocket of anger and hate shoved straight down your throat. Do not let it be said that bands like this are one trick ponies however; Blood Harmony crashes in with a huge chugging riff, slow and crushing, intersecting by vitriolic howling. There’s an excellent grasp of space in this track; riffs and vocals are allowed to breathe, making them all the more devastating. A tortured monolith of a track.
The rest of the album continues this high standard; Die Glocke is a throbbing d-beat monster, all thrashing riffs and throat shredding roars. Line Check takes Brutal Truth’s grinding blueprint and twists it into interesting new forms. It’s almost offensively catchy, bounding along at full tilt with little regard for anyone’s safety. This is a record that thrives on anger and unchecked rage. Be it savage screaming at full speed or the ravaged howl during the more midpaced moments, Corrupt Moral Altar layer every part of their sound with a sense of violence and dread.
Wire Mother has one of my favourite riffs, a thick machine gun rattle beset on all sides by razor sharp attacks. Gin Dreams is a dragging, sludgy behemoth come crawling from the darkness to envelop you. Closed Casket is a blistering Pig Destroyer-esque mangling of hardcore and sludge. Sweet Talk is probably winner of the most ironically named song of the year, as it is anything but.
By the time we reach the final bludgeoning of Insect Politicians, your brain has been suitably mangled within your skull by the simple ferocity with which Corrupt Moral Altar execute their sound. Perhaps, you could argue, it sounds a lot like other angry music made by angry people. But that would be doing the band a disservice. Such a decision would disregard the ease with which they bounce between skull slashing savagery and planet flattening heavy. That’s not even including the more melodic and clean Admit Defeat, which feels a bit out of place at first but is actually a welcome respite from the storm. It’s anthemic and raw; a slice of naked beauty amongst the filth.
Mechanical Tides is a savage, thrilling record to listen to. Equal parts hardcore, grind and sludge, Corrupt Moral Altar take those basic genre terms and create something ugly, dissonant and furious from them. Sometimes it’s difficult to describe just why a band hits that particular spot with you. Corrupt Moral Altar don’t just scratch the itch, they flay the skin and nerves from your bones. Essential.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson