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Shift - Altamont Rising [Cold Spring - 2014]

Swedish death industrial act, Shift, is back with a vengeance on his newest slice of harsh carnage, Altamont Rising. This album comes to us on CD and LP, released by both Cold Spring and Unrest Productions, respectively. Although nothing groundbreaking, Altamont Rising is a harsh, engaging slab of death industrial that should slake any genre fan's thirst.

Taking inspiration from the tragedy at Altamont, Apocalypse Now, and Valhalla Rising, Shift uses rolling waves of distortion to examine humanity at the brink. While it's not supremely clear from the album itself (distorted vocals laid on thick distortion tend to get obscured), the sheer pluck of the noise alone gets the message across: humans love violence.

Altamont Rising is seven tracks of harsh, unwavering death industrial.  Ambulating waves of distortion are the flavor of the day, and they propel the album along while making it feel like it is a living, breathing organism. It starts off innocent enough with "Circling Raptor," with its slowly increasing intensity and crunch. "They Don't Suffer Enough" moves from the claustrophobic distortion wall and into a lower, layered, frothing, distorted soup. Harsh vocals shout on top and add more unease to an already disturbing mix. Harsh, rumbling static takes hold in "The Raptors Talons Tore Their Flesh I." This hypnotic journey is rife with distorted movie samples and enough low rumble to cure any case of constipation. The central track to the album (in both placement and vibe), "Shelter," feels more like classic, traditional, death industrial. Repurposed "Gimme Shelter" lyrics are used to reinforce Shift's point about humans and their eventual, unavoidable turn towards violence. Looped, throbbing distortion moves "Rising" through your brain. Low crunch is punctuated by high,piercing feedback and broken up by more harsh vocals. There are more samples and crunch to be had on "The Raptors Talons Tore Their Flesh II." It's short, but it's effective. "The Greatest Ecstasy" closes Altamont Rising out on a creepy note. Similar sounds to "Circling Raptor" are used here and it helps to bookend the album. Almost whispered shouts (huh?) take the place of harsh yells and add a nice, new element to the album.

Altamont Rising is a very solid, harsh, death industrial album. At times it sounds like classic, Swedish death, and others it moves into rough power electronics. It's uncompromising and unflinching, and well worth a listen.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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