Necromantic Calling, Ritual of Traditional Sacrifice and Blood of Creation –, Altars of Devotion is an interesting work. Harvest Gulgatha plays primarily an intriguing mixture of death and black metal, centered in the agony of slow and more dynamic rhythms, that manages to be quite exciting, never boring, and exponentially audacious on the verge of its technical intuition. With the prominence of some elements of traditional death and black metal – especially on the growling brutality evoked by pungent and sometimes explicitly sinister vocals –, despite little rhythmic variations, Harvest Gulgatha has an interesting style, that follows a pattern of its own.
Don’t get me wrong. By no means this is a terrific or excellent record. It is full of elements that you have listened before in a thousand – if not more – brutal and extreme metal albums. Nonetheless, Harvest Gulgatha works with very peculiar components, masterly arranged and combined in the slow fury of its rhythms, which gives them, indeed, very unique characterizations.
Altars of Devotion will appeal more to fans of slow extreme metal – something that seems to be a contradiction –, since the melodies rely a lot more on expectation, agony, anguish and sinister atmospheres, with intense guitar lines holding the base of the songs. Probably the strongest quality of the band is the deeply grunt, funereal and guttural vocals, extremely profound, soul ripping and exhilaratingly dreadful to the bones.
There are some tracks – like the fourth, Trance of a Tormented Hymn – that escapes the pattern a little, featuring a more nervous and rapid rhythm. But generally, especially if you are a decades old veteran metalhead that literally has heard everything available in the underground scene, this album will hardly surprise you. Although it’s not a bad album, Altars of Devotion suffers deeply from the lack of new elements. Harvest Gulgatha highlights the pantheon of their music with the benefits, qualities and the advantage of having developed its own style. Nevertheless, the album has its share of monotonous moments. Not a bad album at all, but definitely, it is way more recommended to traditional extreme metal enthusiasts, with a strong passion for slow, sinister and macabre melodies.