Angelcorpse - _Iron, Blood and Blasphemy_
(Osmose, 2001)
by: Paul Schwarz (8 out of 10)
Why is it that so many great bands in the metal underground die so young? Not even mentioning the frustrating number of great demo bands who never even get a deal, just think of all the bands who start promisingly, get progressively better, and then split up just after their last album became among the most excessively rotated discs in your collection. During the Fall of 1999 I went no longer than a week at any one time without listening to _The Inexorable_ [CoC #44], Angelcorpse's third and final album -- and I must admit that it was a daily need for a good few one to two week stretches within that. But it wasn't because _The Inexorable_ was the year's most original album: it wasn't even close. What made Angelcorpse so great wasn't originality. However, if that stopped you liking -- no, make that -loving- -- them, then you definitely missed the point. The classy covers of thrash and death metal legends like Morbid Angel, Slayer and Possessed which are included on this CD may brutally expose just how many -stylistic- debts Angelcorpse owed to such seminal bands, but what Angelcorpse brought to death metal was not -- and was never meant to be -- stylistic innovation. Angelcorpse brought the storm, they reaped the whirlwind, they showered pure, molten fury on their listeners in near-unsurpassable abundance and intensity. Angelcorpse made music which showed its influences, but also left the band's individual character fiercely stamped onto their brutal, devastating and impressively quality-potent compositions. Pete Helmkamp's spite-filled, raw-throated vocal attack completed the circle of which the frenetic attack of Gene Palubicki's guitar and Tony "Now in Nile" Laureno / John Longstreth's drums were the largest constituent parts. Angelcorpse would not be morphine-like addictive without Helmkamp. They would also not have been quite such an uneasy prospect as concerns their personal views. Angelcorpse -were- a band where many people -- I was certainly included -- chose to forget about what personal views and agendas might be held or advanced by the members, and just got on with enjoying the music. There was no way -I- was going to miss out on such a potent expression of power for the sake of (arguably) bigoted personal opinions only vaguely reflected and aspersed to in Helmkamp's lyrics -- whether clever or cowardly, the skinheaded ex-Order of Chaos frontman with the vocal venom of a horde of vipers kept his references fleeting and vague. This compilation is not a recap of the band's career, it is instead a collection of the rare and demo material they left behind, totaling 17 tracks in all. Their o-so-_Altars of Madness_ _Hammer of Gods_ debut [CoC #17] is represented by an alternate version of "When Abyss Winds Return", two killer live tracks and the _Goats to Azazael_ demo, featuring demo versions of four of _HoG_'s songs. The production-advanced but songwriting-inconsistent _Exterminate_ [CoC #33] has merely two live versions from it presented -- and more unfortunately it's two of the more average tracks on the record --, while near-perfect final opus _The Inexorable_ is only represented by an the earlier-recorded "Wolflust" from the 7" of the same name. Aside from this there are no less than seven covers of various metal bands: ranging from the excellent (Morbid Angel, Slayer, Sarcophago, Possessed) to the average (Judas Priest, Iron Maiden) through to the frustratingly flawed version of Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill" -- it should have whipped. _Iron, Blood and Blasphemy_ itself is not spectacular; although it's 65 minutes long, only about half of it is really stuff that you'll bother listening to for more than mere first-time curiosity. However, _I,BaB_ remembers a great, great band who may have had a narrow focus, but exploited every angle of their chosen character to finally develop its infectious, fury-filled brutality to its logical conclusion. They will be missed.

(article published 13/3/2001)

1/31/2008 P Schwarz Angelcorpse: How to Philosophise With a Hammergod
10/12/1999 P Schwarz Angelcorpse: Relentless Angelic Cadavers
11/17/1997 A Wasylyk Angelcorpse: Hammer of Metal
8/4/2007 J Montague 4 Angelcorpse - Of Lucifer and Lightning
12/9/1999 P Azevedo 8 Angelcorpse - The Inexorable
9/1/1998 P Schwarz 9 Angelcorpse - Exterminate
2/4/1997 S Hoeltzel 8 Angelcorpse - Hammer of Gods
1/15/2000 P Azevedo Marduk / Angelcorpse / Enthroned Night of the Living Corpses
1/15/2000 M Noll Cannibal Corpse / Marduk / Angelcorpse / Aeternus / Defleshed Two Corpses, One God and No Flesh
6/7/1998 P Schwarz Immortal / Angelcorpse / Desecration London's Underworld Holocaust
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