AngelMaker / A Night In Texas, "Unholy Alliance"- Split Album Review Part 1: Breeding Cherubim
Who the Hell Are AngelMaker?
AngelMaker is a deathcore band from Vancouver, Canada. Since being formed in 2011, they've released one single, one album, one EP and two split albums one featuring both Michigan band Isolation and South Carolina's Lament, and this one.
It occurs to me that this band really likes split albums.
AngelMaker happens to have two of the creepiest-looking vocalists this side of Scott Lewis. If I ran into these dudes in the woods I wouldn't hesitate to exercise my Second Amendment right to shoot creepy motherfuckers.
In fact, legend says these two are the true Infant Annihilators and they keep baby's blood in their tour rider to make their gutturals deeper.
Also, the vocalists have different roles. One handles high screams and the other takes care of the low growls. I'll be calling them the screamer and the growler respectively.
And the True Infant Annihilators collectively.
This track opens with what I presume is a sample of a horror movie. There's some random piano keys. A woman pleads for a man to wake up while a slowed down voice makes noises in the background. It kind of seems reminiscent of some kind of Lovecraftian horror with the voice in the background representing an apathetic and destructive entity. But that's just my two Lincolns.
Then the guitarist starts up the riffathon and the blast beats kick in. I'll admit that the first half of this track is kind of slow. The guitar melody repeats just a little bit too many times. But the vocalists do this awesome thing where they trade the lyrics back in forth a couple times and then they harmonize. Or screamonize.
Yeah, that's what you'd call that. Screamonizing.
Chugs and screeches drag the track along slowly to a djent-style breakdown. And from the four-minute mark on the band starts delivering like a UPS man. All of the vocals are layered and it really starts showing why this band has two vocalists. Together the two Infant Annihilators provide what I can only describe as a Megazord death-growl.
The growl is so amazing that the guitarist wakes up and bangs out a solo that wouldn't sound out of place in a Steve Vai song. And then the second guitarist, (that we all probably forgot was even there) syncs it up for a dual guitar solo that continues until the track fades out.
For the most part, this track is pretty slow and nothing happens until the very end of the song. But the chorus is catchy as hell and the last minute makes sure the song won't be soon forgotten.This track perfectly functions as a precursor to the two closing tracks of the split.
We can now officially say that the angels are in the oven.
The Curse of the Earth (AngelMaker)
This one opens up with the drummer and the guitarist keeping up an awesome melody. Then the screamer vocalist yells "Go!" and then the chugs become shreds.
The screamer starts the song off and he's screaming so fast he sounds like he's trying to be labeled Deathcore Busta Rhymes. Then the growler comes in and takes care of the rest of the verse, with the screamer occasionally echoing him.
The drummer keeps up a rhythm that sound like he's warming up for Church throughout the first verse, but it only becomes noticeable if you pay attention. Seriously, he hits the cymbals at the exact same BPM for at least a whole twenty seconds.
The first half of the song speeds up and slows down like the amount of action in the average Walking Dead episode these days. It's kind of jarring at first. Then the breakdown comes at a minute and a half in, and the whole track goes silent except for the vocals and the drums. It really emphasizes the talent of the vocalists and the drummer by clearing the airways of everything else. And we can say that they are legit.
The outro to this track is eargasmic. There's a dual guitar riff that wouldn't be out of place as the intro of some catchy bubblegum pop song. It's accompanied by a chanting of "Hey!" in between the last few lyrics. The growling and shrieking here, backed up by the shredding, and the chanting provide one of the most memorable moments on this album.
These kinds of creative displays are exactly what put the "melody" in melodic deathcore and distinguish it beyond all of the pig squeals and violent lyrics to become something much more enjoyable.
Day by Day (AngelMaker)
This track is the closer of the album. And it’s definitely my favorite and probably the best off of the entire split. And I'm not just saying that because it's my favorite. This shit is intense lyrically and instrumentally.
Speaking of lyrics, I really want you guys to enjoy this song properly. And you can’t do that without reading the lyrics either first or during it. And let me tell you, these are some of the most positive, and inspiring lyrics I’ve heard not just from the deathcore scene but probably from the metal genre as a whole. Honestly, the true Infant Annihilators are giving Dream Theater a run for their money with the positivity here.
But enough about the lyrics, how is the rest of the track?
If you're listening on the actual album you'll hear the previous track end with a sample from Kill Bill Vol. 2. Which is an ominous segue and a perfect intro to this song. If you're listening on Youtube or Spotify you'll still hear the sample, but afterward, the song will just go off instead. Which will be fucking confusing and will seem kind of unnecessary and pretentious.
Then this track fires up immediately with the bass drums pounding. The track opens with a growled "Here it goes again!" and the vocalists jump right into the lyrics. They trade the lines back and forth during the verses with both of them playing their parts like madmen.
All the while the guitarist is riffing hard underneath and he doesn't let up until the pre-chorus. I will admit that the drummer seems to be tracking an entirely different song towards the beginning of the song, though. He keeps speeding up and slowing down at random times. It still fits the song though and never gets too distracting.
The first breakdown comes a minute and a half in and you can really hear the bass and the drums here. The growls are really accented and the guitarist is relentlessly chugging. It's badass.
After, there's a bit of an underwhelming solo and the chorus is repeated with a choir, and then just by the growler.
And then comes the second breakdown. Both vocalists start pulling a grindcore and become completely incoherent for the rest of the song. The guitarist unashamedly starts his chugathon back up.
One guy does some rapidly-delivered screaming, while the other just belches under the whole thing. Then the track finally let's go of your balls.
And the split is over.
All in all, AngelMaker is one of the best Deathcore bands out there. They've been pumping out music consistently since their EP, and I fucking respect that conviction. I've seen their vocalists and their guitarist and drummer be called some of the best on the scene today.
And that's saying something.
Aradia isn't anywhere as good as the two following tracks, but it has amazing riffs and instrumentation. It suffers from a weak start and too little variation. I can't say anything of the like about Curse of the Earth and Day / Day. If you were to skip around those songs there's times where they sound like they've transitioned to different genres.
The drumming has some oddities throughout most of the tracks, but it usually keeps upa great contrast with the rest of the instruments. And the vocalists are amazing when they're comprehensible.
I'd give the album three and half guitar picks out five.
Wait, Didn't You Forget About the Texas Knights or Something?
No, fool, and it's A Night in Texas. Now, sit down and shut up.
You see, A Night in Texas is slightly more aggressive-sounding than AngelMaker. If you speak convoluted metal genre, AngelMaker can be described as Melodic Deathcore, while A Night in Texas falls more towards a fusion of Black Metal and Deathcore. Which is why I saved them for last, despite their songs coming first on the album. I want to send you guys off with a boot to the ass.
Unfortunately, I have a serious fucking headache right now and we all know that in metal "slightly more aggressive" is the difference between coherent vocals and clean riffing, and howling demons making vaguely human-noises while beating on eight-string banjos.
I ain't dealing with that right now.
So kids, make sure you tune in next week, for the next exciting episode of -
What's your favorite song off this part of the album?
© 2018 Joey Smith