How many Death Metal bands from Sioux Falls do you know of? I’m willing to bet that there aren’t many, unless you’re from the area. Honestly, Angerot is the extent of my Sioux Falls Extreme Metal knowledge. They play ferocious, thoughtful, and patient Death Metal that would take ten bands to even come close to matching. Now we know of over ten bands from Sioux Falls, and they’re all the same band! Regardless of where they are from, Angerot is casting their brobdingnagian shadow over most of the rest of the American Extreme Metal world, on a path to eclipse the earth as a whole, and it doesn’t matter where your band is located – that’s an incredibly difficult feat to accomplish right now.
After you hear “The Divine Apostate”, you’ll probably forget that Angerot began life only three short years ago in 2017. A year after their conception they had already released their very solid, Swedish-infused debut album, “The Splendid Iniquity”. That was an album I had to buy as soon as they released it, and it has spent a considerable amount of time helping me to bury my woes in shallow graves. It’s a great starting point if you haven’t been initiated into the world of Angerot. We’re here to talk about “The Divine Apostate” today though, so strap on a fresh pair of panties, you’ll certainly need them.
While “The Splendid Iniquity” is a solid album, it is just that. A well-played, American take on a beloved Swedish Death Metal style. Likely one of the better American albums I’ve heard in that vein, it still didn’t have the character that allowed Angerot to show us what they’re truly made of. It showed the world that they’re great musicians and are off to a more promising start than most bands are within their first year. Fast forward to 2020 – a year of great unrest and uncertainty. A year that needs forward thinking Death Metal as much as it needs knuckle-dragging Death Metal. Much like a prophet, and perhaps the second coming religious corporations have been referring to, “The Divine Apostate” was unleashed, and it floored me so fucking hard I ended up in the molten core of the earth. Suddenly, just two short years after their debut, Angerot didn’t just develop the character they needed, they evolved into an entirely new entity.
“I am not meant for this world, and this world is not meant for me!” is a powerful line, one which is delivered with such malice by dynamic vocalist Chad Petit that you’d think death was coming for you in that instant. This album is chock full of moments of absolute power like that. The main riff running through “O Son Of The Morning, O Son Of The Dawn” delivers a delicious bulldozing trudge not unlike Grave, one that should definitely have you smashing your house up like the Incredible Hulk overdosing on cocaine. “Coalesced With Wickedness” is one of the most unique tracks I’ve heard from a Death Metal band in some time, beginning with a mid-paced riff that reminds me of Domination-era Morbid Angel, a riff that is guaranteed to force incontinence. I told you you’d need those panties! Operatic vocals similar to Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh, and some genuinely creepy moments with some fun vocal play that only Mr. Petit can deliver playfully intersperse themselves throughout the song as well.
Truly, there is great variety to the writing on “The Divine Apostate”. While the riffs are generally slow to mid-paced, there are still enough fast sections to keep everyone’s attention. Jason Ellsworth and Chad Petit have gone to great lengths to give us a fresh sounding album from start to finish, with leads and solos extraordinarily fleshing together the riffs. Acoustic parts are beautifully arranged and expertly emphasise the sheer magnitude of the songs they accentuate. Bill Zaugg on bass guitar gives each song life with deep pulses of bass, providing critical blood flow throughout the album. Chad Petit shows an exemplary variety of vocals, consistently delivered with enormous power, and ranging from deep grunts, hateful rasps, and operatic insanity. The drums are played organically by Matt Johnson as if they are an extension of his limbs, always placing a cymbal splash or a deep tom hit precisely where it belongs. Keyboards, played by lead guitarist Mr. Ellsworth, often remind me of some of the darker moments of the Lord Of The Rings films, and are used to overdrive a distinctly hopeless atmosphere. The production is sharp and aids in the sound/style of the album incredibly well.
Do yourself a favour and give “The Divine Apostate” at least one listen, although I doubt many will be able to leave it at that. This is definitely a “repeated listens in the same sitting” kind of album. Aside from Sulphur Aeon’s “The Scythe Of Cosmic Chaos” and Warcrab’s “Damned In Endless Night”, I haven’t heard any other album this impressive this century. If you’re familiar with Angerot as of “The Splendid Iniquity” but have yet to hear “The Divine Apostate”, and aren’t afraid of change, you should be as impressed as I am. If you’re new to the band, I’d suggest listening to the debut first, if for nothing else than to get a better idea of how much the band has grown in such a short time.
“The Divine Apostate” sounds like something released by well-seasoned veterans, and in a time where primitive raw Death Metal is forcing everyone’s attention, I am happy that a band like Angerot is here to show us that Death Metal can have a modern, progressive sound without being overly technical or pretentious, and still smash skulls like no other. At the very least, “The Divine Apostate” is the pinnacle of what Death Metal should sound like right now. At the most, it is the future sound of Death Metal.