Angelcorpse – The Inexorable

As much as I’ve always wanted to like them, I’ve never been able to cross the threshold from “Eh, Angelcorpse…” to “Ooh, Angelcorpse!”  This is mostly because they’re not a very good band at all, at least judging by this album.  This is very, very bland blackened death metal with very little to recommend for it.  The songs are barely coherent arrangements of complex but ultimately meaningless tremolo riffing and blastbeats, with a black metal-styled vocal performance crudely slathered on top like a deranged and only averagely performed icing on and equally mediocre instrumental cake.  In short, this is not worth anyone’s time.

You have to get four tracks into the album before even a hint of variation pops up; the first three songs just go by in a blur, and I don’t mean ‘blur’ in a positive, chaotic way.  I mean ‘blur’ in a totally uninteresting and sterile way.  All the trappings of aggression are present in the music of Angelcorpse; a relative level of brutality, speed, technicality, and violent and satanic imagery, but without the focus needed to execute this sort of music the illusion of intensity falls apart about ten seconds into ‘Stormgods Unbound’, when you realize that the guitars are going in every direction except the one that makes sense and creates a coherent riff.  Really, there are no riffs, just halves of riffs scattered this way and that.  Each one begins with a flurry of chainsaw tremolo riffing that seems savage and promising- and then promptly stops and begins right where it started with no melodic resolution in sight.  A totally static drum performance under the guitars renders the proceedings even more uninteresting, with no percussive creativity in sight anywhere lest a change from a rhythm that isn’t a monotone blast or double bass section be perceived as ‘not brutal enough’.

The vocals are delivered averagely but seem weak in the context of the rest of the production.  While the guitars form a huge wall of sound (meaningless sound, but huge nonetheless) and the drums are given a booming, mile-high production job, the vocals stand alone, only tracked once and paling in comparison to the dogma going on around them.  It’s a very artificial feeling album; it has all the appearance of brutal, savage death metal but none of the actual WEIGHT that such a style of music is supposed to carry.  Angelcorpse on this release attempts to redefine death metal into a modern black metal style, with an emphasis on chaos over groove and big downbeats, but don’t have the skill, instrumental or in songwriting, to pull such an idea off.

I would say it’s a shame that this album is a failure but to be honest it’s not like I can even say there’s unfostered potential to be found.  It’s an album that just sucks from top to bottom and the songs all sound like they were written in one go and not revisited until the day of recording.  There’s no other reason why it would be so spectacularly incoherent unless these are first-draft attempts at songs that never saw later revision.  To make ‘The Inexorable’ good would require an overhaul so vast that the band would be better off just scrapping the album and starting over entirely.  It’s just dumb and offers nothing to the fan of extreme music with any taste at all.

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~ by noktorn on August 1, 2008.

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