The Altar

Banks - The Altar
Critic Score
Based on 18 reviews
2016 Ratings: #501 / 758
User Score
Based on 205 ratings
2016 Ratings: #295
September 30, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Harvest / Label
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The Altar is not an album that needs any context; what Banks has crafted here is an even-handed mix of tight electro igniters and slow-burning passages into her head and bed, each move lined with the same brooding R&B-tinged exposition that has come to characterize her sound.


Whether destroying an ex or empowering herself, Banks has strengthened her voice -- resolutely and with increased production value -- in the two years since her debut Goddess.

‘The Altar’ is very close to being a razor-sharp pop blueprint. Don’t bet against her striking pure gold next time round.
Drowned in Sound

Banks is perfectly comfortable in her own skin and artistic abilities, and it shows immensely on The Altar.

The Line of Best Fit
Killer hooks, plus a real clarity and a “no fucks given” attitude make it an irresistible listen that’ll have you ready to take on the world.
No Ripcord

The Altar is an accomplishment. There’s much more happening, but its tighter and fuller, filling in the most glaring gaps left by Goddess. Banks is comfortable in her own skin: visually, sonically, and emotionally. It’s by no means perfect, but it is her personal triumph.


‘The Altar’ is more textured and artful than ‘Goddess’, BANKS growing into her role as a writer, upholding the sensual melancholia that characterised her debut. Yet, it still feels as if BANKS is fine-tuning her sound.

Consequence of Sound

None of the material on The Altar will revolutionize alt R&B, future soul, or whatever awkward label one might apply to this nebulous genre. What is here, though, is proof of an artist still searching for a new direction.

The Guardian
Nothing is sacred, sure, but such a 2016 musical moodboard hardly inspires devotion.
Rolling Stone

This idea of sabotage from all sides – including within – defines the electro-pop diva's second LP, which pairs her whisper-to-a-scream vocal range with jangled-nerve electronics.


This sophomore effort builds off her debut, but loses the plot in a mass of electronic blackness and vague grievances.


The high points of The Altar are nearly perfect, but these are outnumbered by a massive middle section comprised of unremarkable, uninspired filler.


The Altar has a lot in common with Goddess, including its fatal flaw: its attempts to position Banks as edgy or dangerous, despite all musical evidence to the contrary.

The Needle Drop
Banks returns with another underwhelming album.
basically your daily reminder that no man is good enough to take you to the altar.

favourites: poltergeist, lovesick, trainwreck, gemini feed, mind games
Worst traits of alternative rnb, trying way to hard to be different yet overall is middle of the road and drab.
still mediocre as fuck, still middle-of-the-road as fuck.

when she tries to be FKA twigs it's even worse. it's so obvious she's just a bland white american wannabe version of her, sorry not sorry.

this album is a huge step back from goddess, as mediocre- and, at times, lifeless- goddess was. instead of just being dreary, this album is instead scattered, confused, and identityless. banks takes on the masks of several different r&b and pop artists alike but never forms her own personality ... read more
Empowerment lyrics, sticky hooks and an ability to catch our attention, Banks delivered her second album as a destruction missile.
1.Gemini Feed (90)
2.Fuck with Myself (95)
3.Lovesick (85)
4.Mind Games (80)
5.Trainwreck (100)
6.This Is Not About Us (85)
7.Weaker Girl (85)
8.Mother Earth (85)
9.Judas (95)
10.Haunt (80)
11.Poltergeist (90)
12.To the Hilt (80)
13.27 Hours (95)
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#45/Genius Community

Track List

  1. Gemini Feed
  2. Fuck with Myself
  3. Lovesick
  4. Mind Games
  5. Trainwreck
  6. This Is Not About Us
  7. Weaker Girl
  8. Mother Earth
  9. Judas
  10. Haunt
  11. Poltergeist
  12. To the Hilt
  13. 27 Hours
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Added on: July 30, 2016