Altars of Destruction – Gallery of Pain

Reviewed: April 2010
Released: 2010, Violent Journey Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

FINALLY! Someone had the guts to do it… finally, may I add. One of the most obscure yet definitely most underrated Finnish underground thrash metal bands, Altars of Destruction, have got their 1ST EVER official album out; 7 re-recorded old tracks, added 2 brand new tracks make this album more than worthy. Tell you why…

First of all, Altars of Destruction (or just A.o.D., as they are mostly known here in Finland by their abbreviation) was formed back in 1986 already, making them one of the first Finnish underground thrash metal bands ever. Back in those days, there were only a small handful of Finnish speed/thrash metal combos (National Napalm Syndicate, Ancient Rotten Graveguards, Stone and some others, too) that started out near by those mid ´80s, and determinedly started making an impact on people by their more or less wildly circulated demos through the underground tape trading scene. Sadly, A.o.D. never went any further than that, even if they had their own potential chances to make things truly happening for them.

As some background info about A.O.D., the band released one self-titled demo in 1988 and one 2-track EP (titled PAINFUL AWAKENING) in 1989 before calling it quits due to personal issues inside the band. It took 16 long years until they decided to regroup again in 2005, and start working with both new stuff and re-working with some of their old material as well.

Secondly, if you have ever liked/or loved heavy thrash á la Slayer, but with a way slower, mid-tempo-ish touch, then be my guest and fearlessly sink your teeth into A.o.D.´s 9-track effort titled GALLERY OF PAIN. A.o.D. have still managed to capture the same spirit and vibe they had back in the day for this album – and with a suitable, crisp sound that fits perfectly to their stuff like a 7-inch nail into your eyehole.

A.o.D.´s songs are basically kinda raw, straightforward, intense and heavy old school thrash; churned out almost without any solos in them but that´s surely also part of the reason why they sound so crushingly heavy on the record. And as for Mika Luoma – the band´s uncompromising vocalist (who later joined and sang in another high-caliber Finnish thrash band, Oppression), he sounds simply amazingly fresh and strong in his vocal lines – just like he did over 20 years ago. Mix some vocals of Tom Araya (Slayer) and Kam Lee (old Massacre) together, and you have a pretty good clue how Mika sounds on this pretty stunningly kick-ass thrash album. The songs tend to be thoroughly catchy – focusing on the basics, but still having enough potentiality to make listeners crave for more. GALLERY OF PAIN may not reek of any true ´hit potential´, but what the heck! Hit potential my ass! Content-wise the album does rip somewhat immensely, nevertheless…

Releasing this album itself is kind of important for the whole past metal music scene in Finland. I´d sincerely take my hat off for Violent Journey Records for doing so anyway – and now we only need to get bands like Necromancer, Oppression and Abhorrence to be released on CD. So, any takers?


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Track Listing:
01. Altars of Destruction
02. Aggression
03. Children of Misfortune
04. Guilty Or Not
05. Cross the Line of No Return
06. Heroes of the New World
07. Suicide, Are You Fu**ing Insane?
08. Gallery of Pain
09. Day of Judgement

Mika Luoma – Vocals
Kimmo Osmo – All guitars
Pasi Osmo – Bass
Jussi Samppala – Drums