Altars is a five-piece melodic hardcore/metalcore band that formed in 2010 in Colorado Springs, CO. Their first official release, Opposition, was released in 2011, and the band signed to Facedown Records the following year. Shortly after their signing, they released their debut full length, Conclusions. Altars' second full length, Something More, hits the shelves on May 14.
Since releasing the Opposition EP in 2011, Altars has changed their style quite a bit. A few years ago, they sounded like a typical melodic hardcore/metalcore band that was trying to duplicate the sound of bands like For the Fallen Dreams and Legend. Now, however, Altars has progressed beyond chugging, the occasional melodic riff and heavy screams. Something More sees the band incorporate more of a punk influence, which is most noticeable on the tracks that feature clean vocals, and a much more polished sound overall. Back to the vocals, the lyrics on Something More were one of the first things that I noticed; they weren't very preachy and there were quite a few that gave me chills because of the reality and positivity. My favourite lyrics were "Question everything/Seek truth/Spread hope" ("Question Everything") and "The driving force that gets me through every day is that there's something more to give" ("To Give").
Something More is definitely a step up from the band's previous releases because it's so dynamic. The vocalist transitions between metalcore lows, hardcore yells and punk cleans without any blunder, the guitar parts are much more varied and so too is the drumming. A few tracks that really caught my attention were "Sent to Destroy" and "Transparency" because they were so strong vocally and instrumentally. Both of these tracks feature a few very fast-paced verses and choruses as well.
The previously released "Eternity" is another song that really stood out to me. The third track features a catchy chorus, an excellent main lead that you have the privilege of hearing several times, one of the best callouts/breakdowns of 2013 ("You're committing mass genocide! BLUURGH!") and a beautiful ambient outro that acts as a two-minute instrumental interlude. Because it has all of these aspects, "Eternity" is the longest track on Something More (it's just over five minutes long), but it doesn't drag on.
In its 35-minute playtime, Something More has several "wow" moments and there aren't too many weak moments. With that being said, I initially wasn't too fond of "Revolutions" because the lyrics were primarily sang. In small doses, the punk-ish cleans sound excellent, but if they're the main aspect of one song, they sound a bit awkward and overused. "Revolutions" is a grower, though, and now I can get through it without wanting to skip to the next track. "Westboro" is similar – cleans are the dominant vocal style – but everything seems to flow much better and it's a very emotional track.
With each thing that they release, Altars has changed up their style a bit and it has been for the better. If they continue at this pace, their next album might be even more dynamic and impressive than Something More.