Angerot are an American band from South Dakota who is releasing their first ever recording with their debut album The Splendid Iniquity through Canadian record label Black Market Metal Records. Angerot have members that have been playing in the death metal scene from 1992 to the present day and have released numerous recorded materials between them. So when the four members of Angerot got together and decided to form a band, they must have all talked about the Swedish death metal scene of the early 90’s as this whole album is not just a nod to the Swedes, it is splattered with Svenske Dodsmetall from beginning to end. While this may be so, Angerot have more than enough ammunition in their arsenal to add their own delicate touches in order to create songs that are not just mere copycats but that are actually really worth listening to.
After multiple listens and severe brain damage from the amount head-banging to this album, let’s break this down so that you can get an idea of what this is like. Recorded by Eddie G and mixed by a legend of the Swedish scene, Tomas Skogsberg (remember him?), with guest appearances of none other than my heroes and idols in James Murphy and Lars Goran Petrov, it was only going to be me that will review this album as I killed everyone else that even thought of reviewing this.
I was really surprised with opening instrumental “Black Epoch” as it was a keyboard tone that I had heard before and after rattling my brains I remembered it to be similar in tone to Malevolent Creation’s opener on the Retribution album. Therefore I was expecting American death metal, however, when second track “Eternal Unrest” started, I heard this familiar guitar tone that I have worshipped for almost thirty years now. The opening sequence is reminiscent of the old riffs of yesteryear but when vocalist Chad opens with “Skin Crawls” followed by some Grave worship reminiscent of the You’ll Never See album, you will find it hard not to smile before you start head-banging. The production is spot on with everything crystal clear, from the drums of Josh with his punishing double bass and guitars courtesy of Jason and Chad, backed up by bassist Bill, this is a sound to be chuffed about as it allows Angerot to be free and play to their idols. I don’t care if you have heard this all before as when its played this good, just let the music simply do the talking.
Title track “The Splendid Iniquity” immediately reminded me of “Night of the Vampire” era Entombed and initially continued with the slower end of the death metal spectrum. The simplest of riffs backed by a band with power rather than technicality oozes class, and again vocalist Chad has the perfect growl encompassing this sound. Angerot openly admit their devotion to the Swedish scene and it is blatant here but you still have to admire the professionalism on show here. This song is indeed worthy of the title of the album, showcasing nice solos and riffs from lead guitarist Jason.
“Rivers of Chaos” really speeds things up and after a beautiful lead from Jason at the start before a familiar voice of over thirty years pummels my ears. It’s none other than the man himself, Lars Goran Petrov who appreciates the music Angerot are trying to record here to the extent that he adds his deathly growls. Ironically, I got a Clandestine era Entombed on this song more than any other haha. Lars Goran Petrov is still a legend in my eyes and brings that extra edge to this song.
“Under the Calm” continues with the HM-2 sound but I also hear some bands like Fleshcrawl in the mix, which again is not always a bad thing. “They Wake at Dusk” starts off with a keyboard intro before the guitars and drums courtesy of Josh and backed by bassist Bill play an intricate instrumental reminiscent of something maybe Hypocrisy would do but it also highlights that the band members can mix things up a bit and do their own thing.
“From the Pit to the Apex” welcomes back Chad’s vocals once again and more of the mid-paced drums and fast riffing Swedeath that Angerot know and breathe to play. I love the double bass from Josh here and it just gets this old head-banger moshing till his heart’s content. Then comes this solo that is different from all the others and is none other than guitar legend that is James Murphy. He adds so much class to the song which already oozes class and it is a most welcome return to form for these ears. “Deliver Us…” starts off in a doom death fashion which allows Chad’s vocals to give emphasis on power and brutality rather than speed and technicality. Again there is a strong emphasis on Grave I feel here but I am past caring as it’s just too good. “That Hath Awoke” is much more in your face Swedeath metal with a mixture of death growls and spoken word adds more ammunition in Angerot’s belt. There is more chugging riff style here which when you are down the front of the stage, you will be moshing to your heart’s content here. This is just pure power and music that you simply headbang to.
“Falia Diaboli” has everything Left Hand Path that you would need, with the riffs, sound and even the keyboard midsection. Angerot mix the tempo all over this song and do it in such a way that you mosh your head off one second and then are in the pit the next. Huge screams are let out by Chad before the keyboards come in and I smile from ear to ear as you will instantly recognise where this is from. Even the riffs are an ode to one of the best death metal songs of all time. This has to be my favourite song of the album as I feel everything is created at the right moment.
I welcome Angerot with open arms into my CD collection and I hope I have done enough to welcome them into yours. If Swedish death metal with the traditional HM-2 sound is your thing, then you cannot go wrong with Angerot. What is it with these Americans who wish to be Swedish? Along with Sentient Horror, Angerot are keeping the HM-2 sound alive and as long as that happens, I and quite a lot of others will be happy too.
The Splendid Iniquity is out now through Black Market Metal Records