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A worthy swansong - 80%

Death_Thrasher, October 1st, 2012

This, Angelcorpse's 2007 comeback album, seems a somewhat divisive one among fans and critics alike. I recall 'Of Lucifer and Lightning' was Terrorizer's album of the month upon release, scoring a hefty 9 out of 10. However, a quick glance down the MA reviews indicates not everyone was pleased with this one. In particular, the production comes under heavy fire, as does the supposed lack of new ideas. All I have to say is this: bollocks! 'Of Lucifer and Lightning' is a mighty piece of empowering extremity, and a worthy addition to Angelcorpse's discography.

Musically, this is still instantly recognisable as Angelcorpse; not surprising, considering the reunion of the original lineup. Gene and Pete have, of course, always been there; the latter continues to conjure some of the finest death/black guitarwork in existence, while the former remains one of the most distinctive and destructive vocalists in the genre, arguably sounding better here than ever before. Add to the gang a returning John Longstreth, sounding much tighter than before, and you have a crack squad of death metal maniacs ready to crush some skulls.

And crush they do! Angelcorpse have wisely stuck to what they're good at, and if you're familiar with their previous albums you can probably skip this paragraph. For those who have not had their ears violated by the wonderful racket that is Angelcorpse: imagine Morbid Angel without the experimentation, without the melody, without the epics and with vastly superior, utterly ravaged vocals. Angelcorpse do not fuck around, and if you like your death metal with plenty of proggy sections and clean vocals, you're going to be very disappointed with this album. Of course, why anyone would seek out a band called 'Angelcorpse' and expect anything but blasphemy and carnage is beyond me. This is shitloads of trem picking, tonnes of blastbeats, an endless stream of vitriolic lyrics and a handful of very heavy mid-paced chug sections. If that sounds like your kind of thing, you will treasure this album and all others by this band; I guarantee it.

Regarding the production: it's not awful, but not perfect. It's the one aspect that has changed dramatically since the last album, and something that took me a little while to warm to. Whereas 'The Inexorable' had a fiery, vicious quality to it, like a whirlwind of razorblades, 'Of Lucifer and Lightning' has a murkier, darker sound to it. The guitars are muddy and, as another reviewer pointed out, a lot more Morbid Angelesque than before. The drums, in contrast, sound a lot less punchy and heavy than in the past. While I greatly enjoy the churning, oily guitar tone, I must admit I'm not a fan of this drum sound; it's probably the only element on this album I would consider particularly negative. Helmkamp's vocals have, thankfully, not been touched, and though his bass doesn't stand out too much, there's plenty of bottom-end coming from the guitars anyway.

Overall then, 'Of Lucifer and Lightning' is a worthy swansong for Angelcorpse. No, the production's not top-notch and they're basically delivering the same goods a third time in a row, but when the goods are this damn... well... good, I can't see a justifiable reason to complain. Imagine how upset you'd be if Motorhead did a prog album.

It is a real shame that this was Angelcorpse's last release, as although Helmkamp's Kerasphorus and Palubicki's Perdition Temple both offer high-quality brutal metal in spades, the former lacks the latter's demonic riffing and the latter lacks the former's unmistakable voice. Come on guys; shake hands, make up and give us a few more slabs of iron, blood and blasphemy!

Taking The Morbid Angel's Direction but Good - 82%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, April 28th, 2008

Angelcorpse are the classic example of a high fidelity death metal band. They are one the biggest exponents of the “war death metal” genre and in the past they released excellent albums such as the debut or the following Exterminate. Those were two gems of incredible power and violence. With those albums they established themselves worldwide as a great band with a natural sense of various song writing mixed with the classic violence this genre deserves.

Many considered The Inexorable album as their masterpiece but I don’t agree. That album signed a lack of inspiration in the song writing and the effect was that the songs were not so various as in the past, even if they were always quite good. The production was also flawed in that case but, to me, they started to go down from that period. Well, I was terribly curious about this new effort and here we go again. Their style marks no signs of change or melody, getting straight to the point: brutality.

After the instrumental intro, it’s time for “Antichrist Vanguard” to break in. The production is something I cannot accept for a self proclaimed “war death metal” group: it’s too clean and the guitars sound is strange compared to the past. They are fuzzy, muddy and too Morbid Angel inspired. Anyway that is not bad but it simply doesn’t fit in that group. The blast beats are always one the most important things in this music and the combination of them with the restless double kicks sound is lethal for my heart. This sis so fucking heavy.

The vocals by Pete are unmistakable for malevolence, preserving that black metal component they’ve always had to make them so particular. When the guitars are not played on the power chords, preferring the more high-tonality-passages, they are so loud! For this check out the following “Machinery Of The Cleansing”. The palm muting parts are very well done and the shredding work on the chords is always powerful and precise.

The band is particularly good during the various tempo changes (I never questioned about the technique level of this band) and during the fast, long bass drum parts where we can rest a bit from the inhuman blast beats. Those parts have always a more epic element to create always headbanging rhythms. The solos as usual don’t let me down.

Anyway, there aren’t just good things, because we can find also weak and dull parts like “Extermination Sword” song where the band seems so tired and with no ideas, wanting to create a more structured and less impulsive track. A part from this track and few other not exceptional riffs we can find in some songs, I feel myself to give this album a good mark even if there is the impression that something is missing…it’s always brutal as fuck but they can do better.

Angelcorpse stick to the same formula. - 70%

LordBelketraya, November 25th, 2007

I only heard of these guys this year from a Watain gig I went to that also had Nachtmystium and Angelcorpse on the supporting bands list. To me they caught my ear and they sounded pretty good. I decided to check them out, apparently they've been on hiatus for over 5 years. I heard their older works and also this new one and they don't sound any different really. Now that's not such a bad thing. I would agree with most people that their earlier stuff has a few more catchier riffs and they are all their best. It's almost like the guys had to shake off some rust and stick to what they do best, not venture too far away from their trademark sound.

The singer sounds very much like Abbath (Immortal) and the music at times sounds like Morbid Angel but without the guitar virtuosity of Trey Azagthoth. This isn't a band that will ever be in the same league as Death Metal heavyweights Morbid Angel, Obituary, Deicide and current leaders of the pack Behemoth. Angelcorpse are a notch or two below those aforementioned bands. But it doesn't mean they can't make some decent music. It's enjoyable for a while, some nice riffs here and there and good vocals but I can't get past the "Abbath-like" voice. It's almost like he's doing guest vocals. My main complaint is the thin-sounding guitars, there's no "weight" to it and sounds weak for a death metal band. There needs to be more punch in their sound, whether its drums or guitar and none of them step up. Next time they need to add more depth and balls to the music. This is just Angelcorpse going through the motions. Even so, it's not bad. Imagine if they followed the steps in this review. A 90% or higher next time around.

Avoid - 5%

gk, November 23rd, 2007

In a span of just five years since inception in 1995 to dissolution in 1999, Angel Corpse released 3 albums and a couple of eps and firmly established themselves as kvlt underground heroes. It also helped that founding member Pete Helmkamp was also the founding member of another kvlter than thou death metal band Order From Chaos. 2006 saw the band reform with its original line up and this year sees the band release its fourth studio album.

Considering that the band's last album The Inexorable was a pummeling display of blackened death metal, I had pretty high expectations from Of Lucifer And Lightening. I'm quite sorry to say that these hopes have been dashed and broken to pieces. Of Lucifer And Lightening is a piss poor release that leaves me completely unmoved.

The songs still reek of early Morbid Angel mixed with some black metal bits but where the combination worked on The Inexorable thanks to the sheer force of delivery, here the songs just sound boring. At low volumes this music very quickly dissolves into a background buzz while at higher volumes it gets quite irritating.

Also, special mention must be made of the production. It sucks. There are thousands of bands around that make music that's just as bad but have the decency to wrap it up in some sort of professional production job. Angel Corpse though, shoot themselves in the foot by opting to keep things kvlt. The sound is muddy and there's absolutely no punch.

Angel Corpse have returned after an eight year gap with their worst album ever. This one has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Avoid.

Lots of wasted potential - 50%

MrVJ, September 20th, 2007

" 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