It’s only been two years since I reviewed Angerot’s absolutely crushing album The Splendid Iniquity where I welcomed the album into my CD collection due to the brilliant take of Swedish death metal. I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive about approaching and reviewing The Divine Apostate due to the strength of its predecessor. Having some of my idols in James Murphy and Lars Goran Petrov in guest slots also will be hard act to follow but on The Divine Apostate, we have guest appearances from Suffocation’s Terrence Hobbs, King Diamond’s Snowy Shaw and one time Carcass guitarist Ben Shaw. So I braced myself and bucked up the courage and focused on how Angerot were going to beat their early Bloodbath-worshipping debut.
Well, opening track “Below the Deep and Dreamless Sleep” is an absolutely stunning way to open up an album. Groove, intensity, blast beats and an overall excellent musicianship from all band mates who some have been plying their trade in death metal scene since 1992 and it clearly shows. This song is as tight as a badger’s arse. Opening with operatic female vocals something Cradle of Filth have been known for were soon drowned in HM2 guitar tones and growls that although deep from Chad can be deciphered without looking at the lyric sheet. This opening track is stronger than anything on their debut and has a more sense of completeness than the debut album. While the debut was much more Swedish worshipping in writing and sound, the sound of this album has dropped the obvious Swedish worship somewhat and allowed Angerot free reign to write their songs the way they want to without leaving the legacy of the HM2 overall sound. They really have set the bar high with this one.
Followed by “O Son of the Morning, O Son of the Dawn” with the mid paced riffs over blast beat drums interspersed with Terrence Hobbs guest solos thrown in left right and centre. You can guess with one of the Godfathers of the death metal scene how quickly the solos are and while not as standout as the opening track, it is worthy of a listen. One thing I do love is the constant and consistent double bass from drummer Matt throughout the duration of the song. The maturity and improvement in the guitar riffs from the debut is clear to hear and has me smiling from ear to ear while listening to this on my 55 inch TV, being careful not to knock it over when I growl back at what I am listening to.
“Vestiments of Cancer” opens with a deep growls from Chad bringing back the glory days of old school death metal. Chad has added range to his vocal style on his debut which was more out and out growls, where on this record he has added diversity to his vocal range which is most welcoming. Stand out sections for me were the solos by Jason which is not too far what our old friend Chuck Schuldiner would throw onto one of his old records. “Coalesced with Wickedness” had a Morbid Angel feel to it in places where I thought I was listening to “Where the Slime Live” before getting back to the Angerot guitar sound that I am loving more and more. Again the female operatic and guest vocals from Snowy Shaw adds a nice touch with the atmospheric middle section adding so much variety to the overall song.
This is has been a crushing release so far and a welcome acoustic break entitled “Each Night As You Sleep, I Destroy” with nice interweaving solos and whispering voices. “Counsel of the Ungodly” has more groove in it and is a much more standard death metal affair and one for the moshers and headbangers out there. Nice touch was towards the middle where it built up to frenetic blast beats to get that pit circulating mixed with Massacre inspired solos half way through. “Father, Mentor” had a much slower, dirtier and thick feel to it and is a much more standard death metal tune but with the sound of the twin guitars on this record, you have to bang your head in acknowledgement.
This album has to close with a huge tune and we get that with “Thy Kingdom Burned”. Amongst the groove, blast beats and flowing riffs and solos, you get a class tune of prime time death metal. The sound of the guitars is just incredible and credit must go to the production team for making this sound so good. It’s in your face, aggressive and takes no prisoners and once again the solo must have been inspired so much by Chuck. Stunning way to end this powerful and I mean powerful album.
This album did to me what Wretched Fate did with Fleshletting at this same point last year. I already know that this will be on my album of the year list. I cannot believe the jump in quality from a crushing debut to this landmark release all within a space of two years. Angerot have outdone themselves here and I don’t know how they will top this faultless album. 36 minutes of top quality death metal from a band only releasing its second album. The Divine Apostate will certainly raise some eyebrows and I for one will be playing this album on repeat many times in the months to come. Well done boys.
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