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One of this scribe's biggest musical disappointments was not the split of the US war metal pioneers Angelcorpse, but rather their reformation. The reunion of the band was not the problem as such, however, the ensuing album release of "Of Lucifer And Lightning" (2007) was. "Of Lucifer And Lightning" was boring, had a thin sound, terrible production all around, and offered nothing of the musical excellence Angelcorpse's former work did. And that is the biggest problem with "Of Lucifer And Lightning": the unfulfilled potential. You see, Angelcorpse's three old albums are fucking huge and I consider them some of the best extreme metal ever released - and their impact on the war metal or black/death metal scene has been immense. I shall endeavor on reviewing the biggest, baddest and best of the Angelcorpse classics - the mighty "Exterminate"!
There is a reason Angelcorpse's genre is called war metal: because, and I know this is the cliché of all extreme metal, it sounds like fucking war! The pictures the soundscapes of "Exterminate" paint are that of a barren, ravaged battlefield, a world in which only fire, steel and ash exist. "Exterminate" opens with the insanely frenzied attack on everything ordered, holy and right in the stupidly violent track "Christhammer". This effort in violence goes on through all of the album, with one single intent: total annihilation of all. Here the drums aren't sticks on skins, but a 12,7 mm heavy machine gun that rips fist sized holes in humans and turns the bodies of angels into paste! The riffs are the engines of the war chariots and steel battle tanks that belch forth putrid smoke as they scourge the grey land and rip open sores in the ground with their iron tracks! The bass is the artillery beyond the horizon that shatters civilization, nature and Heaven alike! The vocals are malicious orders of command that send thousands into violent death! And the solos are flamethrowers that incinerate and immolate everything in their path and burn the fucking earth!
Angelcorpse's call to arms with "Exterminate" mixes classical archaic death metal in the vein of "Altars of Madness"-era Morbid Angel, speed/black/thrash metal of early Sodom, a bit of pure black metal (I always thought they had a certain Marduk ring about them, they certainly share the speed levels!) and a little grind inspiration for that extra bit of chaos that mainman Pete Helmkamp probably brought on from his former band, the death/black/grind cult act Order From Chaos (which is thoroughly recommended by the way).
The result is chaotic to say the least! The drums of John Longstreth (currently occupied in technical brutal death metal band Origin, and has also joined the reformed Gorguts) are frenzied beatings that seem to balance on the edge between control and chaos. He's blasting left and right with awe inspiring speed, but his chaotic fills and general skill ensure that no one is left bored. Guitarists Bill Taylor (who now is the right hand of the godlike Bob Vigna in the godlike Immolation) and core member Gene Palubicki lay down some of the best riffs I've ever heard. These are the red threads in the fire storm that is "Exterminate". It is a futile job to point out the best riffs on the album since the quality is so frighteningly high all around, but for the sake of completeness I shall advice you to check out "That Which Lies Upon", "Phallelujah", "Sons Of Vengeance", "Wartorn" and... Shit, that's already half the album and I was about to recommend the other half! Get them all! The riffage is instantly memorable, chainsaw-like in its intensity and with a wicked sense of melody. No chugging brootalness here! Not a fancy breakdown in sight!
While the riffing is incredibly well done, it fucking slays when combined with the solos! It sounds like mastermind Palubicki (OK, co-mastermind together with Helmkamp) has taken the works of a certain Mr. Azagthoth from a certain "Altars of Madness" album, turned them inside out and then played them at double speed! The solos soar at amazing speed, complexity and skill. These black little gems are scattered throughout the album, and while they aren't as numerous as the works of Morbid Angel, I actually find them better.
The bass, while heavy in the mix, isn't nearly as intense or interesting as the guitar or drum work; in fact it is quite anonymous. However, it does its job in creating a thick sound so that "Exterminate" doesn't sound like some ice-thin, shitty black metal record. Besides, Pete Helmkamp has more important things to attend to than fiddling around with his bass. Because throughout "Exterminate" he is busy spitting his guts out in some of the most infernal, blasphemeous vocal work ever! Existing exactly between the guttural death growl and the black metal scream, Helmkamp singlehandedly declares war on everything with his sick raspy shrieks. I fucking love it! Another really cool thing is that his vocals are actually understandable. It's not just noice, because Helmkamp has some points he wants to get out with.
And what does he 'sing' about then? Though the overall topics are similar, Angelcorpse doesn't deal with the usual "vomit upon the cross" (Belphegor), "hammer down the nails" (Vital Remains) or "death to Jesus" (Deicide) lowlife lyrics. Ranging from raging anti Judeo-Christianity, glorification of war, perverse sexual desires, extreme Darwinism and abhorrence of Human stupidity and conformity, Helmkamp has penned some of the best and most disturbing lyrics in metal ever;
"Awake! Sons of Vengeance rise / Rub the dust of twenty centuries from your eyes / Fashion your being: ploughshares into weapons of war / Today we conquer the Self - tomorrow the world"
- "Sons of Vengeance"
"Prostrate disciples of derisive subjection / Their spirits exude deification of defeat / A talisman profane - vile birthright borne / Enslaving vigour as if nailed to a cross / Scoff at this inheritance of wretchedness / The Daimons erect shatter shackles of deceit / Sons of Vengeance consecrate burning ways / Wolves no longer in the guise of the weak"
Today, more than 10 years after its release in 1998, "Exterminate" continues to impress. The uncompromising work that has gone into all aspects of the album - artwork, lyrics, production and most importantly, the music - has really paid off. I must have listened to this album more times than I care to remember, and each time I am instantly at a loss for words. This album is in my top three of records of all time, and if you like extreme metal, it should be in yours, too.
...from music that your balls have dropped again? Well, with the attributes of this absolutely vicious black/death metal band it isn't uncommon. Combining the riffing genius of Bill Taylor and the harmonically solid Gene Palunicki we get a ballbreaking album.
Littered with shredding solos that are nothing more than rapidly picked notes and tremolo bar wankage, and riffs that are meant to plow through you this album is simply death metal at it's purest.
The drums are mindshatteringly fast and powerful, with fills a plenty and tons of passion and fury that you can actually hear from behind the kit.
Anyways, those are the two best aspects of Angelcorpse (and especially this album, Exterminate) to me, so we shall move on to the review.
Starting from the opening track, Christhammer, you really really know what you're getting into. Beginning with harsh almost atonal riffing and a wild vocalist, you are shown the rest of the album in a nutshell. To be honest, that makes the album lose a few points by itself, the music is so repetitive.
Every track may seem to blend together for those who have never dealt with this kind of dense production and the vocals start to sound incomprehensable and put there to continue a song. The bass is completely nonexistent and the drum sound for the bass drum is also too quiet, though the rest of the kit sounds remarkable.
That being said, the songwriting is perfect. While being a monotonous approach, the said music is outstanding. The rhythm guitar is vicious and comes pounding your face in with every power chord and open tremolo pick, then we come to the solos. Oh god, the solos. While being entirely wanky, the solo guitar has such a remarkable tone that I can't even begin to describe.
Well, I can. It sounds like the guys kept their wah pedals on slightly for every lead to make them sound more dynamic and powerful. Which is exactly what I get...POWER. The leads are vicious and wild, and just...ughh so great. The album gets huge pointage from them.
Anyways...onto the production. Dense and with only one outlook. To burn you in hellfire and destroy some people in the process. The guitars and drums are prominent, but not too overloud. The vocals are perfect in volume, and the bass is nonexistent...sounds like classic old school death metal, no? Well guess again, the sound can get grating and the bass inexistence is ridiculous, Pete is completely inaudible and it kind of agrivates me to not hear it. The bass would've given the band and even heavier edge that would've given a few more points here.
The lyrics and such are standard antichristian, violent black metal fare.
Deadly album, recommended to anyone who is a fan of gutchecking music with a penchant for repetition and mosh-worthy riffing. On a related note, those who are looking for incredibly dynamic and varied music will be dissapointed as the band have one point-of-view:
Our might makes right
Where charnal houses
Leer at the world
Where crown and cudgel
Rains from the skies"
I took this album few years ago, in a promotional copy not for sale, what a luck! It was my very first Angelcorpse album and from this one I started to buy the entire discography. If their first album was a bit more raw, it had some of the best songs done by this group that, along with this Exterminate, sets the statement in war black/death genre.
The production here is great and perfect for this genre. I think that the bass drum is triggered for the sound and it’s very hard to believe that a drummer has that speed in the double kick, without losing a shot or even do a little error…anyway, who cares? It’s good and check out the beginning to “Sons Of Vengeance” song. Truly brutal.
Pete Helmkamp vocals are always screamed and brutal. Recognizable among bunch of other ones. The opener song is pure speed with blast beats, black riffs and fast-technical solos. Without a second to relax we must face the up tempos of Wartorn…unbelievable. Pure attack. I think that “Into The Storm Of Steel” is the perfect soundtrack to a nuclear disaster. The riffs after 20 second from the beginning is awesome and the blast beats sound like the machine gun shots during a war.
“Phallelujah” is fucking twisted and extreme during the refrain. Pete vomits the soul here: his voices is unmatchable for malevolence. The epic/war touch in the guitars “melody” of “That Which Lies Upon” is exalting. But what can we say for “Sons Of Vengeance”? a truly brutal song…As I said before the drummer is inhuman…
Every song has its almost memorable moments without filling riffs or things like that. This is total impact with very catchy parts that contribute in making this album a true classic in war extreme metal. ATTAAAAACK!!!!!!
The glory of the fight, the thrill of dismembering your foe’s head from where it stands, aghast, six feet above the ground and the consequent shower of blood that cleanses away any previous nerves of killing. The pride of returning home triumphantly to your birthplace with your hair drenched in the blood of your defeated enemies, your eyes stinging from the ‘salts’ of the dark battlefield. Perhaps the feelings of war cannot be sufficiently described in mere words, but one thing is for sure, the epic grandeur of this abstraction has plenty of worthy soundtracks to do honour to its very name and strike fear in its feeble opposers.
Angel Corpse arose from the ashes of the legendary Order From Chaos, striking a much needed renewal of insurgency within the Death Metal genre. “Exterminate” is a tale of conquest, of zealous opposition of the passivity found in Modern society. The themes are presented to us in a fierce rendition that remains cutthroat and urgent from start to finish.
The best comparison that one can make is to the early Florida Death Metal scene. This is Morbid Angel circa 1989-91 at its heart, right down to the “Slayerisms” in all of their magnificence, the spiralling structures and relentless frenzy of the riffing. There’s also some Obituary influence to be heard, mainly the spiralling tremolo riffs that seem to come out of no where – complete disorder. Of course, there are also a few signs of their predecessor, the filthy dissonant whirlwind of Order From Chaos, especially in sound of the ‘mid-paced’ tempo changes that both bands use, makes an appearance. But, the vociferous paroxysms of the titanic monstrosity that was the “Stillbirth Machine” do not shine through in their almost absurd extremity. Nevertheless, this must not be underestimated as a relaxation of the carnage, it is merely rephrased in a different way, with more lucidity in the production.
The drums are a relentless fury that repels the music into the depths of an insurmountable mania. Right down to the intricately layered double-kick work you can hear the thunder of horse’s hooves against the battlefield, the deafening pulsation of the warriors heart resonating through his skull and the chaotic frenzy that only the true glory of an epic battle can reproduce outside of Nature’s dominant will. This enables the guitars to surge forward in an ominous and highly threatening manner. This is also excellent in contrast with the fiercely atonal soloing that gives even Slayer’s chaotic discordance a run for its money.
Whilst, this may not be the acme of Death Metal, its no blemish on the face of its anti-morality worldview. Eight tracks of pummelling, rapid paced Death Metal recommended to fans of the early Florida scene.
Angelcorpse’s “Exterminate” has all of the elements needed in a good death metal album. Great vocals, guitars, an outstanding drummer, but somehow they still don’t get all the praise they deserve. I never see anyone talking about them. I hope this review will draw more attention to them, in this world where dumb wannabe melodic homossexual Gothenburg/shitcore bullshit are much more widespread than real good music.
This album flows perfectly. Here, we don’t see musicans walking in circles waiting for some good idea to pop out. The agression is focused, and the intensity won’t stop till you press “stop”. The album is mostly fast, with some slower riffs to mix things up. The riffage is top-notch, helped by the excellent guitar tone (very clear, but it doesn’t make the album stop sounding like death metal) and the sense of catchiness of the rhythm guitarist is very good. If you listen with attention, you will notice that almost every riff here is pretty nice. The lead guitar is heavily influenced by Trey Azaghtoht (or however the fuck you call him). If you like this kind of stuff (I do) his solos are pretty damn good.
The vocals aren’t the usual death metal growls. Here we see great black metal vocals and some screams (when backed up by the blasbeats, it’s so cool).
The drummer is pure genious, his performance here is so good that he can be mentioned among my main drumming references, Flo Mounier, Proscriptor and Raymond Herrera. His rhythm is steady, his fills are catchy and he plays fast as hell. The blastbeats are used wisely, unlike most drummers today, idiots who blast their way through the whole length of the album, idiots who don’t know what does “good drumming” mean, idiots who aren’t interested in making their talent grow, only following the orders of a dumb songwriter who wants to be “br00tul”. Maybe the double bass should be a liiiittle higher in the mix.
Except by a throwaway (Wartorn has no good riffs) and a mediocre track (Embrace is overlong), anything is from good to excellent. “Christhammer” has the hooks lacked by “Embrace”. “Phallelujia” has a great chorus. This song is much better from the middle to end than the start. The Azagtoth influence in the solos is glaring. “Reap the Whirlwind” has a great break at 2:27, and is very good all-around. 2:58 at “Songs of The Vengeance” has another break, this time with a great guitar solo in the middle. “That Which Lies Upon” is a riff galore, and has pretty well-used blastbeats. The best track is the brief “Into the Storm of Steel”, where the rhythm guitar blends perfectly with the drumming.
Except by the two “bad” tracks, this CD shows how to do quality death metal. Too bad Angelcorpse won’t return to save us from this sick metalcore world.
Wow. Angelcorpse is an amazing band all around. This album is, in my opinion, their best work. I'll start off by saying Pete Helmkamp is one of the sickest, ugliest, and harshest vokillists in the metal underground. His vocals are high, completely comprehensible, and harsh as FUCK. I have never heard someone sing with such intensity since Xul from Kult ov Azazel.His lyrics are also very intelligent, and very blasphemous (those 2 adjectives won't suprise anyone who has read Pete's philosophy books). The guitar work on this album is stunning. Brutal riffs ala Altars of Madness era Morbid Angel, thrashy, speedy, and awesome. The solos are very clean sounding, and the mix on this album is so great you can hear the solo and everything else going on at the same time perfectly. The solos remind me of a less sloppy version of Slayer (which isn't anything new for a death metal band). John Longstreth, who now drums for Skinless, does an excellent job on this cd. Very fast, lots of blasts and double bass that isn't overused, and intense.
This album has it all for any fan of extreme metal: Blasphemous lyrics, harsh-as-hell high pitched screams, brutal guitar work, intense solos, killer and fast drum work, and an original sounding band. Any fan of speed, thrash, black or death metal, GET THIS ALBUM!