Altura — Mercy
(Magna Carta MA-9014-2, 1996, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-02-01
Altura is a five-piece gigging band from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their first album is a definite progressive metal project with intricate time changes that support a core emphasis of aggressive, but balanced, songs. It should easily appeal to Dream Theater / Queensrÿche fans. Mercy is also a mature first effort, with a good mix and plenty of individual separation between instruments. One of the standout tracks is "One Dimension," a song about disillusionment that features some non-standard chord changes. I briefly met Rain Irving (vocals) and Franklin Ervin (guitars) at ProgDay 96. Rain is a real singer, not a screaming poser, and perfect for this melodic band. Vocal arrangements of this style can be viewed as the new focus by bands where singing is as important as posturing with attitude. Franklin's guitar leads fit well within the confines of the song structure rather than wrapped around it, which is often the case. Keyboardist Jason Lingle also has a choice solo break on "One by One" worth calling attention to. Although this is yet another album starting with a rain storm, this CD boasts pristine production provided by San Jose's Robert Berry, who gives it a clean, distinct overall sound and bite. Vocal engineering by Mike Wible is also notable. This is the best album I've heard on the Magna Carta label.
Related artist(s): Altura
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more