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The definition of war metal - 90%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, December 25th, 2008

Pete Helmkamp is surely one of the most overlooked singers in death/black metal field. His importance and skills are to appreciate since the creation of the primitive but quite revolutionary style in Order From Chaos band. At the time, he threw the basements for the future evolution of this death/thrash genre in something called “war death/black”. The brutality and the sheer impact of the compositions were not so common but only with the new band, Angelcorpse, he completely achieved the goal of recording truly blasting and furious efforts. The debut album is called Hammer Of Gods and still remains of the most important stopovers for those who really appreciate this genre.

The production was far rawer if compared to the latest albums and still a bit Order From Chaos oriented but the tracks were already great. What we can immediately notice is the speed of sound. On the previous band, Pete was not that keen on composing truly fast tracks while now the things change. “Consecration” is the great opener of this album and it immediately displays all its fury through blast beats and up tempo parts. The riffage is the classic Angelcorpse one, so it’s in continue balance between the death and black with lots of epic and battling riffs so sustain powerful structures and, sometimes, more melodic guitars solos. The vocals, as you, know are just vicious, raspy/shrieky and totally merciless. Pete is unmatchable in heaviness and evilness.

The production, unfortunately, doesn’t help for the drums but the guitars are always well-audible and the bass is always there to follow this march towards the total annihilation, continuing with the thrasher “Envenomed”. The tempo changes are quite rabid and out of the blue, with lots of restarts. The guitars solos are a mix of fast, shredded parts and incredibly vicious tapping sections with the unmistakable wa-wa distortion. “When Abyss Winds Return” has loads of blast beats and probably it’s the most vicious track here. Everything is concentrated in a short length and the tempo is always fast. The riffage is always alternated between the tremolo picking to be darker and the open chords one to be more apocalyptic and impressive.

“Lord of the Funeral Pyre” has the fast bass drums overtures and this is classical by Angelcorpse. The atmosphere is incredibly apocalyptic and nasty. Once again the stop and go with the blasting restarts are just fantastic and truly evil. The refrain is more recognizable this time and the vocals are obliterating. “Black Solstice” features great bass drums triplet and a manic riffage. The different tempo parts are always on fast succession and we cannot rest even for a second because “The Scapegoat” enters and once again the bass drums are unmatchable in speed. These parts are the ones I prefer because they are unique: the riffs tend to be far more “war metal” and the atmosphere is just terrifying. However, they never forget to add brutality with the blast beats.

“Soulflyer” is far more direct and simple and is good for the death/thrash up tempo beats (to notice the classic, simple and primordial attitude to alternate snare drum beats to the ones on the hi-hat). There are also a lot of solos here by the guitars, more than the normal. “Perversion Enthroned” features drums intro ala “Silvester Anfang” (Mayhem-Deathcrush) but soon the classic death/black makes its appearance in a jungle of blast beats and savage riffage. “Sodomy Curse” ends this album and once again has its power on the open chords riffs and on the dramatic, epic felling that follows. The last part is for whistles, distortions and chaos, accompanying us to the welcome silence of the last second of this furious opus. The best still remains Exterminate but here there’s a lot to enjoy if you love this brutal style.