Death metal band
On the Chronicles of ChaosWeb site, Paul Schwarz described Angel Corpse as "one of the most intense, violent, brutal and just plain unrelenting acts to emerge from the death metal scene in the last five years." The band was formed in late 1995, when Gene Palubicki and Pete Helmkamp got together. Palubicki loved heavy metal bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, so it was natural that when he picked up a guitar, he began playing in that same genre. Unlike other death metal bands, Palubicki tried to add a little melody to balance the slamming, thrashing sound that is characteristic of American death metal.
Drummer John Longstreth joined in early 1996, and by March of that year they had recorded a demo called "Goats to Azazael." The demo earned them an immediate recording deal with Osmose Productions, and their debut album, Hammer of Gods, was recorded in July of 1996 and released in October. In a review in Chronicles of Chaos, Steve Hoeltzel wrote that although the band had "a ripping, ferocious, and malevolent sound," the album seemed somewhat similar to the work of another band, Morbid Angel; he noted that listeners who liked Morbid Angel would think Hammer of Gods "contains some killer tracks."
In November of 1996, rhythm guitarist Bill Taylor joined the group and they toured Europe in support of Impaled Nazarene. On that tour they recorded a two-song live EP called Nuclear Hell. In 1997 they released an EP titled Wolflust, and played at a few shows in the United States. Their second full-length album, Exterminate, was released in February of 1998, and shortly after that, Longstreth left the group. In an interview in Mourning the Ancient, Helmkamp said that Longstreth's drumming "was entirely inadequate live, and his lack of will became a constant thorn in our side. His disappearance was long overdue." Longstreth was replaced by Tony Laureano. Helmkamp told the interviewer that Laureano had a big influence on the band: "He is an incredible drummer, and with his skills, there is no limit to what we can accomplish."
The group toured Europe in support of death metal bands Immortal, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, and Marduk on the No Mercy II tour; they followed this with a 25-venue tour with Immortal and a 55-show tour in North America. When they returned home after those tours, Taylor left the band. Helmkamp told Mourning the Ancient that although Taylor remained a "good friend" of the band, "he just couldn't keep up as far as the speed was concerned, particularly with the new material. We wish him all the luck for the future." Taylor was replaced by a session rhythm guitarist, Steve Bailey, for a followup tour of the United States in January and February of 1999.
Angel Corpse's third full-length album, The Inexorable, was released in September of 1999, and was followed with more tours. Palubicki told Schwarz that the band chose the album's title because it "had a really ominous sound. Plus, it means like relentless, merciless, unforgiving, unyielding. So I thought that worked really good." Schwarz commented that the album lived up to its name, and was "a testament to unrelenting extremity."
The band embarked on a U.S. tour in the spring of 2000, with Satyricon, Immortal, and Krisiun. A week into the tour, Helmkamp sustained a serious injury of his left foot and ankle, but said he would continue, and the band canceled only one show. Two weeks later, other personal problems led Helmkamp to quit the tour, and when the tour was over he left the band for good. Although the band could have continued without him, the members decided to split up.
After several years, however, Palubicki and Helmkamp got back together, began working on new material, and brought Longstreth back into the band. Thus they were reunited for their first full-length release since 1999, Of Lucifer and Lightning in 2007. A reviewer in All Metal described the sound on this album as "an ongoing onslaught on the ears" and noted that the band's "proficiency at creating deep, downtuned, ear infecting brutality is something that they were so good at perfecting." The band planned a European tour in 2008 to support the album.
Palubicki told Schwarz that the band's approach to death metal emphasized "a stronger mix of ideas within songs." He commented that some death metal bands "will just have an entire album where every song is basically a reiteration of every other song," but that he preferred an album to have "ideas that vary, like variations on a theme."
Palubicki told Schwarz, however, that Angelcorpse had no intention of ever changing their sound to include "distinctly less aggressive elements like keyboards or female vocals or particularly melodic or harmonic guitar solos."
Helmkamp told Mourning the Ancient that the band's signature sound is "over the top hellish mayhem. That is what defines Angelcorpse: a lack of parameters, a denial of limits … speed, endurance, agility—the elements that must be extolled."
For the Record …
Members include Paul Coller (joined 2007), drums; Pete Helmkamp (left in 2000), bass, vocals; Tony Laureano (joined 1998), drums; John Longstreth (joined 1996; left 1998), drums; Bill Taylor (joined 1996; left 1998), rhythm guitarl; Gene Palubicki , guitar.
Formed in 1995; issued their debut LP, Hammer of the Gods, in 1996.
Addresses: Record company—Osmose Productions, BP 57/62990 Beaurainville, France.
Hammer of Gods, Osmose Productions, 1996.
Exterminate, Osmose Productions, 1998.
The Inexorable, Osmose Productions, 1999.
Of Lucifer and Lightning, Osmose Productions, 2007.
"Angelcorpse: Hammer of Gods," Chronicles of Chaos,http://www.chroniclesofchaos.com/reviews/albums/2-335_angelcorpse_hammer_of_gods/
"Angelcorpse," Mourning the Ancient,http://www.mourningtheancient.com/angelc.htm (January 3, 2008).
"Angelcorpse: Of Lucifer and Lightning," All Metal,http://allmetal.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/review-angelcorpse-of-lucifer-and-lightning/ (February 16, 1008).
Angelcorpse's MySpace Page, http://www.myspace.com/angelcorpse666 (February 16, 2007).
"Relentless Angelic Cadavers," Chronicles of Chaos,http://www.chroniclesofchaos.com/articles/chats/1-254_angel_corpse.aspx (February 16, 2008).