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Altura - Mercy CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.13 | 16 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh, how great was and still is the influence of DT on many new bands that came out during the mid and late 90s! Altura was one of those bands, with the plus of managing to handle that influence creatively and with some clear signs of originality: such a pity that it was so ephemeral. In a time when the Magna Carta label was very prolific, Altura delivered "Mercy", an astonishing album full of muscle, craft and genuine emotion. The repertoire comprised here is no less than attractive, many times reaching the exquisite. As true as it is that there's lots of metallic force in their performances, it is the clever interplaying and the solid use of textures that makes this album particularly distinct. There's also plenty of complex rhythm patterns and mood and tempo shifts, all of them performed with unbelievable precision and compelling energy. Regarding this particular point, a special mention goes to Gibson's immaculate drumming (clearly inspired on Peart and Zonder); a very special mention goes also to Lingle's superb solos and orchestrations on keyboards, which make him the main focus of the instrumental section. The presence of guitar is less predominant than on your regular metal recording, but again, it is Ervin's choice to remain a bit subdued and focus more profusely on riffs and harmonies in company with bassist Osborne. Meanwhile, Irving's vocal range and style help to build an air of emotional drive when conveying the meaningful lyrics, mostly focused on introspective items. The well constructed melodic lines that lie on the base of all songs helps the band to avoid mere frontal pyrotechnics: the musicians' abilities are displayed for the benefit of the songs themselves. The namesake track kicks off the album with the sound of an electric storm counterpointed by shattered glass, then the music begins with full splendour and passionate fire. The same fire is perpetuated in the next two songs, which are among my favourites of the whole record. The ballad 'Horizons Fade' brings the listener a gentle breeze of melancholy, something like a mixture of Journey's melodic vibration and classic Genesis' eerie romanticism. The 2+ minute long instrumental 'Continuum' displays a sonic collage of diverse musical ideas performed with fluid ease and cleverly administered excitement. The closing 10-plus minute track 'Alone' shows Altura at their most epic, bringing back the melancholy of 'Horizons Fade' while refurbishing with prog pomposity. Once you get to know and enjoy this CD, you can only regret that this was a one-shot recording: the listener's only consolation, as an old Spanish adage states, is that "a stone gives you less than that" (meaning: none would have been even worse). The bottom line is: this is a great album that should not be overlooked, let alone left forgotten.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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