Recapping the monstrous The Divine Apostate and exploring the mind that made it so.
Words by @MoMetalTrax:
A few years ago in the seclusion of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a few veteran American Death Dealers formed ANGEROT from the ashes of their longtime band SUFFER. In 2018, they released one of the better underground metal albums in The Splendid Inequity. In fact, it was one of the best overall releases from that year, and with the help of veteran producer Tomas Skogsberg at Sunlight Studio and guest musicians James Murphy and LG Petrov, it was pretty explicit what the band was trying to accomplish with its deep concentration of HM-2 worship, which was clearly front and center. The sound, production and execution was superb, and the reception was overwhelmingly welcome as the mix of old school Swedish death metal in a slightly modern delivery was both immaculate and impressive. How were these guys buried in the underground? This brings us to today and the arrival of ANGEROT’s sophomore album The Divine Apostate! Although the HM-2 underpinnings are still the foundation carrying over from their intentional debut, the new album unambiguously has a different feel and energy, and is quite simply a massive slab of American death metal, forged with dark, indifferent and brutal assertiveness. You have operatic elements throughout mixed in with the brutality, loathing, aggression and haste. ANGEROT may only have two albums under their belt, but its members are far from novices, and as many have stated after the meteoric reception of the underground debut release, this battle tested group of musicians have made an enormous leap onto the stage and from one album unto the next! One cannot overlook the musicianship and performances from the entire band and its guest appearances, especially from Jason Ellsworth, who is tremendous along with C. R. Petit's lyrics and harrowing growls that embody this release! Have your attention yet?
DEUS / MENDAX / DOLO / TRADITOR MALUM / VIRBUS / IMPERIUM / SANGUIS Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici
The Divine Apostate starts with a peaceful, angelic like opening and then erupts into Below The Deep And Dreamless Sleep, with those same angelic voices laid over the carnivorous riffage as the continuous calls for the demon incarnate bookend the track, and this is where we quickly realize this isn’t The Splendid Inequity part deux! On the second track, Terrance Hobbs (SUFFOCATION) contributes a standout solo on O Son of the Morning, O Sun of the Dawn, simply frenetic and aggressive from start to finish. Stand out tracks are in abundance as the unique Coalesced with Wickedness showcases Snowy Shaw’s (KING DIAMOND, MEMENTO MORI) fantastic vocal contributions and the mixture again of the operatic components we heard on the opener and throughout. The brutality from Vestiments of Cancer mixed in with its purposeful melodic sections, and coupled with the crystal clear rebuking of the cloth is a fabulous track! Counsel of the Ungodly has another guest appearance from Ben Ash (CARCASS), which is one of the bands signature moves; the addition of high caliber extreme metal veterans injecting their skills into an already fantastic effort. The song that kept being replayed over and over has been Father, Mentor with its expressive lyricism and pure poetic darkness, not to mention the energetic and dynamic drumming from newcomer Matt Johnson, which is absolutely sensational as it is throughout the entire experience. The album closes with the thoroughly epic Thy Kingdom Burned! Another intense track that the last minute and thirty-seconds allows you to somewhat exhale and let out one last gasping Thy Kingdom Burned from C. R. Petit, and in these unsure and chaotic events and times a necessary finale to this masterclass of a release. An album certain to rank on many year end lists, and if you really listen and get it, one of the finer death metal albums we’ve heard in quite a while. Highly Recommended! So if you are looking for the Soundtrack to the Apocalypse, look no further than to ANGEROT’s stunning The Divine Apostate…Massive, Poetic & Near Perfection!
Take my hand, Walk with me Teach me the ways of the father Follow your lead, Learn from me I am the ward of your ways…
To dive further into The Divine Apostate, I had a brief chat with frontman Chad Petit on the band's creative process, Jon Zig's magnificent artwork, and more:
Congratulations on the massive new release, 'The Divine Apostate'! We appreciate you taking some time to discuss the new album and what's up with Angerot in 2020.
Petit: Well, I think we are doing what the entire world is doing at the moment....waiting. We have been forced to postpone all support shows for the release of the album until all this chaos subsides and life has some semblance of normalcy. We are trying to be creative in the meantime to help support the release including as much video and online marketing as we can muster. We have several videos already in production for 'Counsel of the Ungodly' and 'Vestiments of Cancer'. We are also working to line up some live stream performance footage if we can get the elements lined up. Nothing is easy right now. We are trying to turn lemons to lemonade and make this album the soundtrack to this apocalypse. Tell us a bit about the band's creative process and what influenced the new album?
Petit: For the first time in 30 years, we were forced to make adjustments to the way we write, rehearse and record material when we parted ways with our original drummer. Where we are from Death Metal drummers are few and far between. We reached out to a drummer that really stuck out to us from a band called Byleth out of Omaha, Nebraska...Matt Johnson. It has taken some work, but we have evolved our methods and have become extremely productive in our new methods of work. Matt is a fantastic fit and I think it shows in the final product. As far as influence...nothing has changed in that area. We are products of being born and raised on 90's Death Metal. I know the new album has a different feel to it than Splendid Iniquity, but I think much of that comes from two elements. First, having a new drummer and new way of writing material and second, we really left all concerns with how people perceived us and what they expect from us in the rear view. We are very confident in what we do and how we do it. We took that confidence and went with what felt right and took no worries in how others may perceive it. What has been the biggest change from 'The Splendid Iniquity' in 2018 to what we've just heard here on 'The Divine Apostate'?
Petit: Uggh...there have been many. Matt has to be it. I have been on both sides of member changes. Sometimes it lets all the air out of the tires and completely kills the vibe of the unit...and sometimes, when you get lucky, it gives you new life, new options and new energy. Matt brings a ton of positive emotion and spark to what we do. He brings a young spirit and feel to our old school delivery. The combination creates a pretty unique power I think. Do you or the band have a favorite track or two from the new album and why?
Petit: We talk about this a lot this time around. We are all extremely pleased with the results of this album, and we all pull something from different tracks. For me personally, I have a few favorites for different reasons. 'Coalesced with Wickedness' is so different and off the wall with Snowy Shaw's contributions. He has always been someone I have admired in his ability to just be himself and he did a fantastic job on this song. 'Father/Mentor' is some of my favorite lyric-to-riff blending I have done. The song just feels darkly poetic to me, but I think 'Vestiments of Cancer' is probably my current favorite. When we play it, it feels very well put together and it is a blast to play. I always get a bit of the chills when we end it.
Past or present, can you name a few albums that have helped shape Angerot's sound or direction?
Petit: It's a tornado of 90s albums really. Clandestine, Covenant, Pierced From Within, Deicide s/t, Necrotisism, Human. There are so many from that era it is very difficult to nail it down to a few. I have been asked this a few times and I always think I have a small handful of favorites...but then as my mind moves I realize how many there are that played a MASSIVE role in my personal development. All I can say is, I was absolutely blessed to have been a part of that movement from its infancy. There will never be another time like it. Ever. What was the concept behind The Divine Apostate's cover art and who chose what and how it was created?
Petit: We once again worked with Jon Zig for the cover art. Zig is a beast and truly understands our endgame. The concept is something that will take a few years to spell out, but will be well worth the time, effort and wait. Understanding we are in uncertain times, what was or is the bands plan to get out and deliver The Divine Apostate to fans and let people hear this album?
Petit: We will continue to push as hard as we can online and with video. It seems to go in waves. Some days it seems people are sick of the shit and really lock into music and connect with others around positive things. And then there are trigger days where it is all fear mongering and political tirades, name calling and fracturing of personal connections. Hopefully we can help bring something to this chaos for those who want to take their minds off all the bullshit and feel normal for a moment. Take some time, share some new music with friends and keep your mind healthy.
Finally, thank you for spending some time with us and for your answers. So the last words are all yours to share with the metalhead community.
Petit: Yes. We were all talking at rehearsal last week about the dark state of the world, all the negativity, pain, stress and pressure it holds. We had a pretty heavy discussion about how it is effecting the band, our album release...but more importantly...our families. From those discussions we began to talk about the future and what positive impacts this could potentially have....and I have one that I hope to see. Life is short, enjoy it. Get out and go to shows. See those bands you love and discover new ones. Enjoy the world around you. Cheers, be safe and keep your mind healthy.
The Divine Apostate is out now via Redefining Darkness Records. Get yours HERE.