Angelcorpse - _Of Lucifer and Lightning_
(Osmose Productions, 2007)
by: James Montague (4 out of 10)
It should have been great: the legendary Angelcorpse reforming, after a six year absence, with its original line-up of Pete Helmkamp (bass / vocals), Gene Palubicki (guitars) and John Longstreth (drums). And given their well-known modus operandi of relentlessly pummeling blackened death metal, it was clear that the band weren't going to betray their fans' expectations by embarking on a totally new musical path.

On the other hand, the band's singularly intransigent approach forces each release to be a distinct improvement on the last or be labeled a bust. In this respect, _Of Lucifer and Lightning_ is a resounding failure. Indeed, when I listen to 1999's _The Inexorable_ immediately afterwards, the effect is profound; I am rudely shaken out of my comatose state by the sudden increase in brutality and sheer cymbal-shattering intensity.

While following roughly the same formula that yielded such success in the past, the weaknesses of _Of Lucifer and Lightning_ are brutally exposed when held up for comparison. The production is quite flat, reducing the main rhythm guitar line to a dull and lifeless drone. Longstreth's drumming ability is frankly nowhere near the level of Tony Laureano, who had replaced him when Angelcorpse were at their peak; the lack of hi-hat and cymbal work on this new album is a major flaw. And then there's the old chestnut of songwriting: the new material is rife with throwaway riffs that would never have made the cut six years ago. Guitar solos are no longer the bunker-busting explosions of terror they were in the past; instead they just buzz around like flies, making plenty of noise but ultimately doing little aside from eating shit.

I'll be the first to admit that this review is very harsh, perhaps unfairly so. Would an unknown band have been so undermined had they produced _Of Lucifer and Lightning_? Perhaps not; perhaps they would have been given an encouraging pat on the back before eventually falling into the forgettably good category. But unfortunately for Angelcorpse, success breeds expectation, and this is one comeback not worth getting excited about.


(article published 4/8/2007)

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11/17/1997 A Wasylyk Angelcorpse: Hammer of Metal
3/13/2001 P Schwarz 8 Angelcorpse - Iron, Blood and Blasphemy
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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