Artist: Altered Perceptions
Album: From Rise to Ruin
The greatest stories always involve a slow build—a period of near-stagnation while momentum builds—think of it as a period of equilibrium before an explosive, eruptive outburst of energy. Then for however long—months, days, hours or minutes—something incredible exists; a display of dominance over the mundane. However, once again, it’s only a matter before time chips away and what was once great is reduced to rubble.
If we apply this analysis to Illinois-based progressive metalcore act Altered Perceptions and their sophomore full-length record, From Rise to Ruin, we find them, well…somewhere between the two. A spine-splitting, skull-cracking display of devastating heaviness and catchy grooves mixed with enough flashy technicality to appeal to metalcore’s more progressive audience, From Rise to Ruin is Altered Perceptions at the peak of their game, creating an album the likes of which toppled the efforts of their peers like sand castles before a tidal wave.
From Rise to Ruin’s devastating aggression is shadows only by how mesmerizingly catchy it manages to be. Carefully striding the line between straightforward, skull-splitting power and scintillating, groove-tinted examples of eviscerating progressive metalcore, Altered Perceptions’ sophomore full length release is the very image of experience and energy meeting in a head-on collision. At the band’s very core, percussionist Jethro Tacuboy absolutely dominates. From the relatively subtle bounce that kicks off “Rise” to the lacerating speed and devilish technicality of “Hellfire” and album closer “Ruin,” Tacuboy is a tempest, sweeping through the listener’s head and leaving nothing but shambles behind. What’s more—every kick drum smack and sharp crack of his snare drum is amplified by bassist Erik Stacy’s slugdy, crushing grooves. Stacy adds depth to the faster portions of From Rise to Ruin without slowing it down or making it cumbersome—such that the anthemic, crushing breakdowns like those in “Sacrifice” or “Frequency” hit just as hard as they need to, properly dislocating the listener’s jaw and leaving it slackened, askew on the floor. Stacy and Tacuboy work together and create a crushing, relentless low end that steams forth like a bulldozer—while guitarist Ryne Sahs lays down catchy, creative and skin-shredding riffs down over every monstrous chug and beefy bass drum hit. Sahs does just what he did on the band’s previous release, with the exception that it is more intense and addictive in every way. “Equalize” sees him at his grooviest, flowing across the fretboard as if his fingers were coated in melted butter—while the grisly, world-ending brutality of “Ruin” or “Frequency” take the castles of sonic intricacy the band has build and send them smashing down on the listener, splitting skulls and shredding brains. Altered Perceptions build just as readily as they destroy—making From Rise to Ruin both aptly named and awe-inspiring at once.
When it comes to channeling the raw, savage aggression that defines Altered Perceptions’ instrumentation, frontman Liam Borrowdale simply can’t be beaten. Borrowdale’s voice is a unique and incredible complement to the highs and lows From Rise to Ruin is home to. Where the band is fast and furious, Borrowdale is equally so—and tracks like “Hellfire” showcase that brilliantly, with Borrowdale’s burly voice building into his signature and stand-out shrieks. Meanwhile, groovier and more metallic songs like “Luminesce” see him using his mid range yell more than other tracks in Altered Perceptions’ considerable catalogue. Borrowdale proves he can be both dynamic and devastating with ease—and this extends to his lyrical approach to From Rise to Ruin as well. Songs like “Ruin”–where he holds his own with Chelsea Grin’s Alex Koehler, or the straight-up pissed “Sacrifice” see his lyrics taking on a razor-sharp edge, cutting just as deeply as his one-of-a-kind shrill shrieks and gritty growls. Altered Perceptions don’t half-ass a single approach to their music, and Borrowdale is no exception, as every syllable he shrieks and shouts (especially those during “Hellfire” and “Ruin”) are pure intensity without exception.
While some may find themselves put off by Borrowdale’s occasionally sky-scraping and rasping highs, just as they may find certain aspects of From Rise to Ruin maybe a little predictable or monotonous, there’s little denying that Altered Perceptions combine primitive, punishing power and aggression with bouncy, bold grooves better than 99% of their peers. Simultaneously catchy-yet-crushing, tracks like “Hellfire” are bound to make their home inside the listener’s head—just as the ruthless album closer “Ruin” is like an intravenous dose of pure infernal hatred right into the listener’s forearm. From Rise to Ruin is an energetic and eviscerating display of metalcore prowess, wherein Altered Perceptions build a towering testament to the integrity of heavy, groovy and excellently-produced powerful progressive metalcore just to take the listener to the very top of it and push them off—inflicting carnage with as much ease as they craft crushing music.
For Fans Of: Barrier, Heartaches, Sworn In, VCTMS
By: Connor Welsh