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
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more