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Of course I'm going to start here by mentioning the inevitable link between this band and Morbid Angel. While Angel Corpse has gone on record stating their mystification concerning the constant references people make to Morbid Angel, I am going to choose to ignore their constantly reiterated professions of their originality and just leave the topic alone by saying that it is really undeniable that at least Morbid Angel serves as a major influence for this band. It is written all over the face of this album - the music, the lyrics, the political statements and ethical messages.
But I will ameliorate that statement by saying here that if Angel Corpse ever had, at any time, pretensions to being Morbid Angel's protoges, the apprentice has definitely and decidely outdone the master with this release. They take Morbid Angel's approach to death metal stylistics as a starting point (the microscopic changes in the tremelo-picked riffs, the obscure and arcane melodicism, the wah-soaked insane soloing, the blur blast beat backing up the guitars almost all the way through the songs - switching from fast to faster without ever really pausing in the ever-pulsing double-bass department, the corrosive 7-string guitars, minor harmonies, the psychedelic yet technical riffing - most noticeable in the sixth track, 'Solar Wills', etc.) but then move far beyond that point of origin by pressing every single characteristic to extremes (I hate to use that word, it has entered the American vernacular and thus lost all its power of suggestion, but it applies here) that I think (to be impertinent for a second) Morbid Angel are no longer capable of matching.
To qualify this I should probably add that I don't know how relevant Morbid Angel really remains in any case. In the opinion of this reviewer Morbid Angel was finished quite some time ago, and Trey Azagthoth should just form an instrumental band named Lava and be done with it.
But music is not just a matter of form or stylistics, there is also the content that is shaped by those convictions - the music itself, the message of the melodies. In that respect Angel Corpse is their own band through and through, they are pushing everything to extremes in order to make a statement, but the music itself is very interesting in that it often manifests as a mirror image or reflection of their political and ethical stance, or of the message of the lyrics. It is very telling when you read through a review of this band's material and find that most of the adjectives used by the reviewer can actually be found in various Angel Corpse song titles: they match their lyrical vision and the message of their music that well. This is not just a result of careful and obsessive composition, but the inevitable outcome of a very powerful vision when it comes to the direction, impact, and image of the band. Angel Corpse know what they want to say, and how to say it.
After listening to this album a few times it dawned on me that bands that are somehow harbingers or heralds of styles that will be developed or made widespread in the future (the New Order) are almost always seen as aggressors - as a threat, as violent beyond their own measure. Angel Corpse are this type of band - I believe they are original enough in their own way to start a new circle of influence, but they are also politically violent in their constant emphasis on necessary changes in the social architecture. In any case they are definitely bringing something new to the scene.
I really enjoy reading these lyrics, they (the words) are so far above most other death metal bands' material when it comes to their strength of conviction, the passion displayed, their creativity, and the imagery used (creating a world where blasphemy is evoked in the name of sexual and violent obsessions - or rather, the nexus where the obsessions of sex and power meet and blend into each other in a fantasy landscape).
This is one of the few bands that is committed to the evolution of death metal, and they pursue this end through strictly personal or idiosyncratic methods - as Angel Corpse advances into new areas of melodic transport or lyrical power (or ideology) the rest of the scene will advance with them. What makes this band unique is their ability to evolve while constantly referencing the past - they never sound as if they are trying to cut ties with their own history: they progress at a set pace, slowly adding to their sound, their abilities, their destructive power. It is not so much a pattern of progression as it is a legacy of growth, a maturation process. This is a group on a mission: I am guessing that deep within their minds, Angel Corpse know exactly what they want to play - they just have to advance towards that goal in measured steps. Soon, I think, they will meet their ambitions, and the death metal scene will be left with a marked monument - a colossus. Until then, you would be wise to stay out of this band's way. Buy this album.
Two whole decades have passed since the early upbringing of two separate sub-genres of metal, black metal and death metal, decades riveted with interesting and rewarding experiments that have contributed to the prestige of heavy metal as much as the community's separation.
Such time has left space for the two genres to ripe and copulate, and effectively, they have sprung forth this cross-bred demonic offspring, Angelcorspe's The Inexorable.
This controversial work has created a serious gap between it's listeners, as some believe it to be nothing more than a bland addition to heavy metal and others a great achievement of blackened death metal.
The album storms in with the frenetic, unrelenting “Stormgods Unbound”, a fairly pagan/Teutonic call to arms, with such memorable lyrics such as “Weltmacht oder niedergang!”.
The lyricism that Pete Helmkamp delivers in his exhilarating, unendingly energetic high growls really adds value to the album; his lyrics mostly deal with warfare and anti-christianity, which might seem quite clichéd, but they are written so well that that minor defect is forgettable.
The clear, bass heavy production does not render the songs dull and lifeless in anyways, rather pushing forward to the front instruments that are essential to the heaviness of the tracks.
The bass has a mean, distorted sound and is highly audible, really spurring heaviness into the tracks. The guitars deliver chaos through atonality in a way that lacks memorability but gets to the point of sounding like hell. The solos clearly spell out a serious Azagthoth influence, which is rather a good point
The drumming is probably the worst aspect of the album; though keeping perfect timing and, frankly, being amazingly fast, Tony Laureano seems to forget to add some variation to the songs. The quantity of blastbeats/double bass parts heard on this album will probably make you hate it.
Helmkamp vocals are impressive and really convey a feeling of power and hatred, but become repetitive after a certain amount of time. His many wordless growls/shrieks seem useless and are overkill at some moments.
The albums holds many weaknesses that are mostly confined to certain songs, such as “Solar Wills”, “Reaver” and “The Fall of Idols of Flesh”, where the riffs, vocal delivery, or drumming really seem weak. But other tracks have interesting patterns and memorable choruses or breaks, such as “Stormgods Unbound”, “Smoldering in Exile”, “Begotten (Through Blood & Flame”, and “As Predator to Prey”.
As a whole, this is an album I would recommend to metalheads starting out in blackened death metal, for it showcases most of the genre's highlights, but not to those who have a fond distaste of strong production or repetive drumming.
As much as I've always wanted to like them, I've never been able to cross the threshold from "Eh, Angelcorpse..." to "Ooh, Angelcorpse!" This is mostly because they're not a very good band at all, at least judging by this album. This is very, very bland blackened death metal with very little to recommend for it. The songs are barely coherent arrangements of complex but ultimately meaningless tremolo riffing and blastbeats, with a black metal-styled vocal performance crudely slathered on top like a deranged and only averagely performed icing on and equally mediocre instrumental cake. In short, this is not worth anyone's time.
You have to get four tracks into the album before even a hint of variation pops up; the first three songs just go by in a blur, and I don't mean 'blur' in a positive, chaotic way. I mean 'blur' in a totally uninteresting and sterile way. All the trappings of aggression are present in the music of Angelcorpse; a relative level of brutality, speed, technicality, and violent and satanic imagery, but without the focus needed to execute this sort of music the illusion of intensity falls apart about ten seconds into 'Stormgods Unbound', when you realize that the guitars are going in every direction except the one that makes sense and creates a coherent riff. Really, there are no riffs, just halves of riffs scattered this way and that. Each one begins with a flurry of chainsaw tremolo riffing that seems savage and promising- and then promptly stops and begins right where it started with no melodic resolution in sight. A totally static drum performance under the guitars renders the proceedings even more uninteresting, with no percussive creativity in sight anywhere lest a change from a rhythm that isn't a monotone blast or double bass section be perceived as 'not brutal enough'.
The vocals are delivered averagely but seem weak in the context of the rest of the production. While the guitars form a huge wall of sound (meaningless sound, but huge nonetheless) and the drums are given a booming, mile-high production job, the vocals stand alone, only tracked once and paling in comparison to the dogma going on around them. It's a very artificial feeling album; it has all the appearance of brutal, savage death metal but none of the actual WEIGHT that such a style of music is supposed to carry. Angelcorpse on this release attempts to redefine death metal into a modern black metal style, with an emphasis on chaos over groove and big downbeats, but don't have the skill, instrumental or in songwriting, to pull such an idea off.
I would say it's a shame that this album is a failure but to be honest it's not like I can even say there's unfostered potential to be found. It's an album that just sucks from top to bottom and the songs all sound like they were written in one go and not revisited until the day of recording. There's no other reason why it would be so spectacularly incoherent unless these are first-draft attempts at songs that never saw later revision. To make 'The Inexorable' good would require an overhaul so vast that the band would be better off just scrapping the album and starting over entirely. It's just dumb and offers nothing to the fan of extreme music with any taste at all.
Each Angel Corpse album is a logical progression from the one that preceded it. Their Goats to Azazel demo has an extremely raw production making it sound similar to the something like Blasphemy or Sarcofago. Exterminate added more intensity and complexity. With The Inexorable, Angel Corpse have expanded their style to its apocalyptic max.
Angel Corpse motor through 8 tracks of war, conquest and blasphemy at totally breakneck speeds, much like Reign in Blood in execution. However this is far better than your average speed freak metal. The style is roughly Morbid Angel crossed with Blasphemy and given a good production. Pete Helmkamp and Gene Palubicki make the most of this style with excellent riffs, expressive lyrics and vocals and songs that are well written, each with a unique feel and meaning (a rare trait in blasting death metal). Pete delivers one of his best vocal performances on this album, snarling coherently with sheer malice. The emotion in his voice compliments his superb lyrics perfectly. Philosophical, historical and maniacal, these poems are Pete envisioning his personal war on the world. Angel Corpse represents a conquest on all that should dare to stand in your way and this message is hammered home with the words, the voice and the feel of the music.
Tony Laureano is amazing on drums adding the extra intensity to their sound that Jon Longstreth was not prepared to give them, at least at that point in his career.
Pete killed this project because he didn’t want it to get stale and although it’s sad that I’ll likely never get to see them live, I appreciate the artistic integrity of that action.
This album does have the power to instill instant confidence and self-assurance and should be considered a drug.
[this review's title remembers me that I need to review that Massacra album!]
This is the last Angelcorpse studio album. It’s the follow-up to the amazing “Exterminate”, but sometimes this album seems to recall the “Hammer of Gods” more than anything. The music is not as interesting as their second album and that really makes us wonder what happened to the guys who penned “Into the Storm of Steel” and “Phallelujia”.
Unlike “Exterminate”, this album lacks consistence. There are some nice tracks here, but they are drowning in a lot of misplaced ideas (and blastbeats) thrown in just for the hell of it. Traces of “Hammer…” songwriting are also present, maybe in a desperate try to revive great songs like “Consecration” and “Black Solstice”. For example, let’s take “Stormgods Unbound”. The same idea of blasting in the verses and then a pseudo-melodic riff as chorus that gave us songs like “Consecration”, “Black Solstice” and “Envenomed” is used here. Nothing new, although it does work ok. Unfortunately, this already tired idea is used again and again, with poorer results. “As Predator to Prey” suffers a lot from useless breaks, riffs and random stuff.
The drumming is the worst musical aspect here. I mean, where the fucking fuck were fucking John Longstrenth when we need him? If you are a newbie drummer and want to learn how to totally screw up a song, listen to “Reaver”. That kind of blastbeat should not be used with a slower riff, damnit! “Solar Wills” shows how to create that dumb drumming barrage for absofuckinglutely nothing. Lots of good riffs are screwed up by random blasting. I never really liked Tony Laureano. Go listen to “Exterminate” and then compare to this. Changing patterns, well used blastbeats, nice double bass, everything is there. And here: Clichéd double-bass usage, horrible use of blastbeats (only one kind, by the way), standard rhythm… Oh come on. And if you think that “In Their Darkened Shrines” drumming is “liek OMG teh amzaging!!!1!11one”, go listen to Origin’s “Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas”.
All is not lost, however. There are also some great songs here. Starting with “Stormgods Unbound”. It has lost of good riffs, including that one used as chorus and the section after the first solo. “Smoldering in Exile” really catches you, with its variated riffs, srtuctures and unrelenting brutality. Incredibely enough, it has some nice double bass strings. “As Predator to Prey”, although not really good, has a great riff in the chorus that starts with a guitar tone and suddenly changes to another, really evil sounding. “Begotten” is also pretty damn good. Unlike the other songs, this is mostly midpaced, with some nice riffage. And of course, we have fucking “Wolflust”. This song is stellar, that kind of song that makes us want to scream and bang away. Every single riff here is amazing and Tom’s vocals are perfect. One of their best songs ever. The digipack version has also “When Abyss Winds Return” which is a decent track off “Hammer of Gods” and “Desecration of the Virgin”, a little catchy song by brazilian black/trash legends Sarcofago.
This album, even though lacking consistence, was a decent way to finish their career one of the better DM bands ever. RIP Angelcorpse.
Yes, Angelcorpse's Inexorable is fast and extreme, but it fails to impress me. To put it simply Pete Helmkamp's vocals are annoying. It seems like he's trying to cross over into black metal. The dull repetition of his growls leaves me aggravated, and his long raspy wails over typically boring riffs are unimpressive. I was always one to think Kreator and Morbid Angel were overrated, and this band seems to blend them with some extra black metal influence.
The first three tracks are all fast, but they lack elaborate riffs. Of course, if you just like to bang your head and scream about Satan these songs are fine. The first appealing riff appears on track four, Wolflust. This lycanthropic song was the first to attract my attention, and the only track I enjoyed. This brings us to As Predator To Prey, a few good riffs on the guitarist’s behalf, but the vocalist is terrible. Some may say, "Wow this dude sounds like he's evil as hell man." On the other hand, I think he sounds constipated and frequently vomits in the middle of the choruses. Thus explaining the ridiculous "blaaaarrggh" sound. Solar Wills starts out with a descent riff, but it is quickly marred by Helmkamps voice. Every so often an okay solo is thrown into the mix. This gives your swollen ears a rest from Pete's wails. He should have stuck with bass. Begotten has an alright riff but becomes bland with time. The Fall of The Idols of Flesh is the same, not too impressive.
Now, as I remove this album from my cd player and place it within my tradelist, I suffer from a headache. I listened to it a few times, but until I am condemned to hell, I will be spared repeating such agony. To sum things up if you're a fan of blackened death, or bands along the likes of Kreator or Morbid Angel, yet less melodic, go for it. You'll probably enjoy it. Unless that applies to you, I'd avoid this album. I get the sense all these death bands do anymore is see who can sound the scariest. As a result, it sounds like shit.
In terms of extremity, Angelcorpse could not be beat during their existence. When I first heard this CD, I had to do something I had not ever done in my extensive time as a headbanger; stop it halfway through and catch my breath! (And Pete got a good laugh out my telling him so when I saw him with Revenge last year here in Houston.)
Ye godz of dissonance and brutality, this is truly the apotheosis of "hell-paced death" to borrow one of Pete Helmkamp's lyrics, to put it very, very, fucking mildly! You think you've heard fast, heard blast beats, well rest assured, bubba, you've not heard what fast is until you've heard this album.
Tony Loreano is the god of all that is blast, driving every tune along with expert precision and seasoned chops that make the impossible seem possible, but barely. He runs like the ultimate blast machine, even outdoing the mighty Nick Barker in that he has considerable color and personality in his playing, even at these insane tempos that would make any metronome smoke and explode trying to even come close to measuring the BPMs. His machinegun double kick alone would accomplish that task anyway!
Gene Palubicki shreds out riff after riff after terror-inducing riff, copious amounts of wah-soaked bursts of atonal madness masquerading as solos--he even makes my personal USDM riff king, Trey Azagthoth seem tame by comparison. His riffing on this album, he said, was deliberately constructed to not even be remotely melodic, and the utter chaos that results is absolutely head-spinning. Which is both good and bad; it's good in that it lends the ultimate feel of madness to this album, bad in that the riffs sometimes feel disjointed and not terribly cohesive.
Pete Helmkamp has one of the most evil bass tones ever comitted to tape, an ultra-fuzzed, corrosive blob of low end reminiscent of Cronos at his most demented ("Black Metal"-era Venom). His vocals are distinctive to say the least, too, a high-pitched raspy snarl/shriek that conveys infinite menace and hatred for well, everything! He's a little buried in the mix, but that horrid bass pokes its dreaded head out here and there to let you know it's the reason the guitar sounds so heavy. And his lyrics are excellent, too, more articulate than the majority of "true" death metal bands, conveying Satanic themes in a colorful and literate manner. "As Predator to Prey" is his tribute to the great conqueror Chingghiz (Genghis) Khan, and even some vaguely Thelemic (Crowleyan) ideas rear their heads here and there on the lyrical front. Pete is one of the scariest vocalists out there, make no mistake.
The production is clear, but could have a little more "OOMPH!!!" for my taste, a little more low end and a slightly better mix that spotlights all three band members a little more evenly. That said, this is as good as it fucking gets for extreme metal of any stripe, and you need to experience this at least once in your life so that you will know what extreme is. Look it up in Webster's; you'll find these three guys in there under the definition of that word.
For those who are weak hearted, are tripping on acid, are pussies or are easily frightened stay away from "The Inexorable" or will be be clutching your covers with the night-light on. The album is chock full of brutality,speed and intensity that is unmatched by many. The overall sound is kind of a very fast Morbid Angel with more than enough blasting with a few slower headbanger friendly mosh riffs thrown in. The most sinister part about the album is the vocals which sound like they have come from the deepest pits of Hell. The vocals are in more of a Black Metal vein,with vocal effects(especially Echo). During the song "Solar Will" the way the vocals eerily echo and fade away in between some of the verses while whirlwind riffs and blasting vomit forth will send a chill up the spine of even the most desensitized metal fiend. Apart from the vocals most of the music is more Death Metal sounding with a slight Black Metal feel. It sucks that this 3 piece has called it quits and they are and definately will be missed by many.
Sweet chocolaty Jesus, this album makes my neck hurt. If the opening strains of the first song here do not get your head banging much too fast and far too energetically, take this cd out of the player and give it to someone who will appreciate it.
Far too few are the extreme metal bands these days that can find that mysterious balance between atonality and lyricism, but almost all the maddeningly meandering monster riffs on this smoldering speedfest of an album take your ears for a raging riff-rape you may never recover from. Eat your heart out, Morbid Angel.
Guitars here form a charging line of attack that is unrelentingly unforgiving. Behind the fast grooves and frequent blasts lurk a structure of great thrashing early death metal atonal riffs. Technically precise churning guitars pummel out line after line of wandering melodies devoid of scale or mode, and they wind and twist in tight formation as the juxtaposition of chaos and order playfully advance with brilliant and many times mesmerizing effects. Many of these phrasings are effortlessly harmonized by interval; many times perfect fourth and minor thirds, although many variations rear their heads throughout. These harmonizing passages slip in and out of longer phrasings of molten riffs, often coming in for 2 out of 4 repeats of a refrain. Most of the songs here are sharpened spears of sonic destruction thrown forth with maximum force as blasts and fast thrash beats roll into one another with a blistering momentum. Two songs, ‘as predator to prey’ and ‘the fall of the idols of flesh,’ slow down somewhat considerably to showcase the strange beauty of their brand of atonality, built on the shoulders of quality thrash along the lines of mid-era Kreator, early death metal like Morbid Angel (many fans insist Angelcorpse is merely speeding up the aforementioned band’s riff style) and the madcap chaos of black metal bands like early Immortal. The riffs here are discernable from those influences, however, expressing an odd serpentine quality as the notes literally twist and writhe forward with a uniquely familiar and yet alien motion.
Guitar solos are frequent and overly soaked in wah-pedal wankery, too much so for any but the most die-hard fans. Only one slower more melodic solo on the last song features clear (but processed and harmonized) notes that denote a lead guitarist with some meaty chops.
Drums on this album are breakneck blurs of blasts and ride-heavy thrash beats, giving the album more of the feel of a division of Panzers than Marduk could ever do with the aid of every anabolic steroid known to humankind. Cymbal crashes are frequent and nicely accent the many subtle rhythmic hiccups that make Angelcorpse’s riffs resonate with an intelligence that elevates their raging music to a higher level than many peers with similar aggressive churning sounds. As with the best metal bands, the guitars and drums work together to build synergistic riffs of melody, harmony, and percussive power.
Vocals here are a monotone middle-range raspy gravel-laden throaty yell bordering on a barking sound befitting a band that sports a wolfish aesthetic and demeanor. Helmkamp uses a unique and sometimes campy quick triple-repeat echo yell that is distinctively his own, giving character to an otherwise proficient but lackluster performance. There is energy to spare within the performance, and the vocal track almost makes you sing along with lines like “I am the spear in the wound of Chriiiiiiiiist!” with heartfelt mocking sneers of metalhead satisfaction.
Overall this is an excellent album of blitzkrieg metal. Nothing is amazingly new here, and certainly this does little to push the preverbial envelope, but what it sets out to do it does with gusto; and few fans of the styles it incorporates would not be happy to be along for the raging riff-rape of a ride.