Hardcore is about being true to yourself and your convictions. It’s about standing up for your beliefs, even at the risk of criticism and judgement. Altars is a band that exemplifies this. The band’s brilliant second full-length, Something More” was hardcore through and through. The band wore their convictions, doubts, and questions on their sleeve. But being that open means people will not always be on board with where you stand. And Altars is a band poised to have to even more push back.
Musically, the band’s new self-released ep, A Profound Respect For Life, is heavier and a bit of a throwback sound to Conclusions. It was a little disappointing at first because I thought the sound on Something More was timeless and perfect. And A Profound Respect doesn’t completely throw that classic hardcore sound out. It’s just heavier with more breakdowns.
The band’s new theological and thought process is front and center on the lyrics. From Opposition to A Profound Respect, you see the transition happening in Altars before your eyes. Whether new atheists or universalist or just really liberal christians, Altars is calling for a reexamining of beliefs. They’re not asking the listener to change their belief system, but to ask tough questions, doubt, and take a look at what they actually believe and why they believe it. It’s not angry. It’s delivered with care. And from that perspective, I love and respect what Altars have done on A Profound Respect For Life.
But where I praised and applauded Altars on Something More, with a great song about loving the Westboro Baptist Church and showing them grace, even though they disagreed with their message of hate, I have to say that I’m really disappointed in Altars for the song Bigot. Yes, the band clarified that even though they used the lyrics from Reformer’s song, this isn’t an attack song against Reformers or christianity. And I agree with their respective of being frustrated with the way certain people express their beliefs versus others. But by calling the song Bigot and using the Reformers lyrics, it feels like Altars is trying to tear down what they’ve so carefully built up. It’s hard to write an ep about questioning and reexamining beliefs when you’re calling the same people Bigots in the middle of the record.
I like Altars a lot! And this ep is another great record in their already stellar discography. The band wears their heart on their sleeves and I appreciate that. 4 out of 5 Stars.