Left Cross – Upon Desecrated Altars

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Virginia’s based-death metal band Left Cross finally returns with vengeance to plague us in the horrible themes of death and destruction. The sophomore “Upon Desecrated Altars” was released on November 10th, 2023, via Profound Lore Records. The dark murky quality of the nine songs plus intro is emphasized by the macabre themes of war, whereas the cavernous quality is textured in the heavy guitar reverb and guttural growls. Left Cross was formed in 2014 and has released a number of EPs before the band released its 2017 full length album "Chaos Ascension".

The opening intro “Debellation” to the album begins with a macabre procession in the realm of the dead and creates a grim soundtrack that matches the caustic nature of the following song “The Blood of Mars”. The pummeling drums provide a full grit to the filthy effect of the tremolos, however, Left Cross maintains its grinding tempo that keeps the atmosphere dripping with pure malice. The riffs are usually played fast, and the drums are fast-paced and unrelenting, though the tempo slows down at times and never gets dull in fact the slower tempos present a brutal riffing.

Deity of Molten Iron” sets up a constant blasting section to add an otherworldly effect. The guttural growls are creepy, and they are the most powerful aspect of the album, but with raw guitars and distorted bass that provide a depth to the song. The fast-paced sections are aggressively brutal, and this is because the guitars pull out flesh-ripping tremolos and the echoing reverb submerges the listener with overwhelming force. “Upon Desecrated Altars” is heavily textured in layers of crushing drums, the album has a warmongering effect that feels brutally raw. “Burning Raids” kicks off with a thrashing blast beats section, every riff drills deep into your brain to the extreme brutality, and it fits right with what Left Cross has to offer in the sophomore.

The album’s title track “Upon Desecrated Altars” displays acute and abrasive execution in showing the horrific nature of the band. The album spans approximately thirty-five minutes of death metal carnage, and despite the lack of the guitar solos in the album the rhythm guitars pound out plenty of evil and malicious riffs. Left Cross takes a whole new step towards rotten and cavernous style and I must say that the new album is a logical follow-up to the debut album “Chaos Ascension“. “Unbinding the Covenant” shows the diversity of the riffing that defines the approach to songwriting. Though the tracks sound the same as the formula repeats the elements, there seem to be no melodies, the drums are brutal and smashingly heavy with the churning distorted riffs and subtle bass guitar which can be heard in the mix.

Inexorable March” offers straightforward bestial riffs by integrating devastating riff barrages while the atmosphere oozes with dark ominous guttural growls. The guitars are firmly installed in building a hellish and destructive sound in the next track “Unhallowed Oaths” which has a similar tone and momentum. Though there are some similar bands like Pissgrave that play the same style as Left Cross in the intensity and approach this pretty much makes the band’s second offering a monochromatic album.

Pyramid of Conquered Skulls” and the final track “Celestial Wound” fall into the category of old-school brutal death metal, the constant pummeling of the drums never fails to impress me. Left Cross focuses their attention on the tempo changes and the songwriting comes directly from the rotten cavity of the underground realms.

The band concludes its last track with frenetic up-tempo and hellish riffs creating an ominous obscure mood that maintains the brutality that seamlessly flows through the deep guttural growls. The scourging riffs are quite dense and hellish, and they contribute to the unending carnage.


  • Music / Songwriting 8/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 8/10

“Upon Desecrated Altars” is arguably one of the most extreme death metal albums of the year and deserves credit for having a potentially interesting evolution in the near future.

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