Track Premiere: Black Altar – ‘Tophet’

Formed in Poland in the late 90s and relocating to London soon after, Black Altar have maintained a sporadic presence within black metal over the last two decades, releasing two full-length albums as well as a number of additional releases including a demo and several split records and EPs. The band was created by a bassist and vocalist known as Shadow, and its line-up has always revolved around this central persona, though a drummer known as Antichrist was also a longtime presence within the group and likewise the guitarist Horizon.

Having laid dormant in recent years following the release of an EP entitled Suicide Salvation and a split with Greece’s Varathron and US black metal act Thornspawn, the band has now returned from the abyss. They mark this today with an ambitious song entitled ‘Tophet’ and an equally ambitious video filmed in England, Sweden, Norway, Poland and the US. Ironically the work was originally created as a sort of swansong for the project, which Shadow had planned to lay to rest due to personal issues.

“For several reasons I thought this would be the last material from Black Altar with ‘Tophet’ being the last track,” he admits. “Therefore I decided to commemorate this fact by inviting people whom I had known and appreciated for years, including James Stewart of Vader, Acerbus of Ondskapt, V.Priest of Acherontas, Sorath Northgrove of Beastcraft, Nihil of Furia and more. It was not easy to arrange everything, especially concerning shooting in different locations, as each of the invited guests shot their parts in their respective countries of residence. The material is therefore varied at different technical levels, including even raw underground stuff. I am, however, inclined to think that with the tiny budget I had at my disposal in mind, the effect is at least satisfactory.”

The song itself will appear on a split with the aforementioned Norwegian black metal outfit Beastcraft and this marks the first of several releases and renewed activity for the group as Shadow elaborates;

“The next material I am planning to release is the vinyl edition and CD rerelease of Suicidal Salvation, which originally was meant to have been released as a split with Shining, and then the rerelease of the remastered debut Black Altar with new cover artwork. Later on, the time will come for completely new songs or for the third full-length or for a split-release with a certain well-known Swedish band. I am also planning the first Black Altar gigs ever next year, so we shall see if this comes true…”

The Black Altar/Beastcraft split is issued on the 30th November by Odium Records as an 8 panel digipack CD with 16 pages booklet, gatefold black 180g LP and a special edition limited to 50 copies wooden box with CD, red vinyl, 2 t-shirts, patch, pin, posters and loads of rarities concerning Black Altar.