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" In the United States, there’s a flourishing state by the name of Florida. Do you know what Florida has besides lots of retirement homes, amusement parks, and sniveling tourists who bring their bratty kids? No? Well, Florida is well-known for its output of superb death metal. You have bands like Cannibal Corpse, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Monstrosity, and Angelcorpse who try to one-up another constantly, by pushing the boundaries more and more, trying to see who can do it heavier and heavier. The latter of which enter again into this competition, offering up Of Lucifer And Lightning as their latest bid to take the crown black metal in Florida.
Now, some of you may be asking yourselves “Wait a minute… I thought Angelcorpse broke up?” Well, you’re sort of right. They broke up in 1999, but reformed in late 2006 to grace all of humanity with another disc of intense riffs, tight drumming, and almost hauntingly blasphemous lyrics. I remember a while back before this album was released and Pete had said something to the effect of “This is the best line-up we’ve ever had, and this will be our best album ever”. I find it rather funny because this exact same line-up has recorded the album Exterminate together. For those of you who are not familiar with this band or their album line-up’s, Exterminate was recorded by Pete Helmkamp, Gene Palubicki, Bill Taylor and John Longstreth, although Bill Taylor had no part with this current album, so it’s just a three-piece. I’m sure that at this point with that line-up you’re thinking “Well how does it stack up to their other releases?”
It’s tough to say which of those two albums are better than one another (I’ve never heard Hammer of Gods, sorry), but I can safely say that this new breed of Angelcorpse is easily stuck in between The Inexorable and Exterminate eras. The formula is still the same with this band, and who’s to say that it should ever change? The main things that stand out about this album is the incredibly muddy production (which certainly gives it a black metal charm) and the drumming by John Longstreth.
Let’s start off with the good elements of this album. Are there lots of really good and sometimes technical riffs? Check. Is there the usual blasphemous belches and screeches that this band is so well-known for? Check. Is this album over thirty minutes long? Barely, but a check none-the-less. Let’s do a little math here: there’s nine songs packed into 36 minutes of material, which gives you an average of four minutes per song. This is very good, because I’m a guy who loves a good amount of black metal or death metal, and that kind of quality should never be skimped out on, and the band knows they’re trying to cater to somebody like myself. Also, let’s not forget that this is a comeback album, and we all know that the formulas of comeback albums should normally suck, but it’s nice to see that Angelcorpse has tried to break that mold.
Each song is almost catchier than the last, and sometimes you’re dying to hear one riff over and over again because it rocks so hard, but there’s really only a couple of those instances. This also goes to the amount of replay this album might incur, and it’s definitely limited. There’s really only one song on this album that I can listen to until the end of time and it’s Hexensabbat. This song is the only one that is incredibly perfected and it clearly shows. This is the real gem within Of Lucifer And Lightning. That isn’t to say that all of the other songs are bad, it’s just that they don’t feel nearly as tight. It almost seems like the guitars are sometimes going quicker than the drums can keep up, and so-forth, sometimes throwing you into the mud and you’re not sure which part you should really be focusing on, if any at all.
The production is certainly something that stands out to me on this album. If you listen to The Inexorable, Exterminate and Of Lucifer And Lightning, and just pay attention to the production values, you can hear major differences in each one. As I mentioned before, the production on this album almost gives it a black metal charm, which is definitely something to behold for a band like Angelcorpse, who just revel in the fact that they’re so grim (I’m kidding), while other pieces of it really lend to the sheer brutality and violence they try to send forth into your ear canals. After all, it is a black/death metal album, so why not have both pieces of the puzzle? Well, there’s a reason for it, and that is at times during the record you just feel lost, almost withdrawn from the music and end up focusing on something else. This is all a repeat of another paragraph, so you get the idea.
The last thing I wanted to point out about the album was the fact that John Longstreth’s drumming doesn’t sound nearly as focused and put-together as it does on Exterminate. What happened John? This is the guy who recorded Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas with Origin, and you can’t put on at least another Exterminate performance? For shame my metal friend, for shame. Again, it almost seems as if he just loses tracks of the guitars and comes in a little late or even goes before, and to me it can really ruin the entire mood of a song, especially if it’s so abrupt and you end up thinking “What in the hell was that?” I just hope that Origin isn’t making a mistake by taking you back…
In conclusion, Of Lucifer And Lightning is definitely a journey to behold, but how many times do you want to walk it is the question. There’s definite high and low-points of the album, and hopefully Angelcorpse can recover from the slight yet crippling blunders they’ve sent out upon the public. This isn’t really a bad album per say, but there’s some things that can really bring your listening experience to a screeching halt and put in something else. If anything, you might just want to borrow this album from a friend and return it a couple weeks later, never really craving to hear anything from it again (except for Hexensabbat, god damn does that song rule)."
Originally written for Metal Stomp.com