Back in 2018, I referred to new death metal project Angerot‘s “Swede Worship” picks and merch in a profile discussing their The Splendid Iniquity debut. But I also noted that the band’s ambition didn’t end at fanboying over the discography of buzzsaw maestro Tomas Skogsberg of Sunlight Studios. In Decibel issue #164 I wrote, “While The Splendid Iniquity immediately sounds like it could have blasted from Stockholm basements circa 1992, it’s not empty mimicry. Whether it’s the eerie invocations of “That Hath Awoke” or the Goblinesque keyboards of the closing track, Angerot offer their own serrated take on Swedeath while ruminating on humanity’s downfall.”
Two years later, Angerot’s sophomore LP The Divine Apostate is the distinct leap forward their debut foretold. With bold arrangements that transcend Swedeath and emerges with an identity all its own, it’s a turning-point record for Angerot. The eerie introduction to album opener “Below the Deep and Dreamless Sleep” drips with phantasmagoric dread before the distortion stabs through the tension 50 seconds in. When vocalist/guitarist Chad Petit growls “I am not meant for this world, and this world is not meant for me” it sounds more like a warning than introspection.
The songwriting is adventurous and invigorating as symphonic elements, clean guitar and ephemeral whispers swirl to create an otherworldly texture. “Coalesced with Wickedness” teems with wild whims wisely indulged by the members. That means virtuoso solos from guitarist Jason Ellsworth, King Diamond vocal flourishes and Gothic atmospherics. But bassist Bill Zaug and drummer Matt Johnson still drive less ornate ragers like “Counsel of the Ungodly,” infusing the album with momentum and lethal purpose. After working with genre luminaries LG Petrov and James Murphy on their debut, this album welcomes new guest conspirators Snowy Shaw ( King Diamond, Memento Mori), Terrance Hobbs (Suffocation) and Ben Ash (Carcass, Satyricon live). When the terminal note of closing track “Thy Kingdom Burned” fades, The Divine Apostate feels like an extraordinarily cohesive death metal experience.
Stream Angerot’s The Divine Apostate before the record’s release from Redefining Darkness Records on March 27th. Also read the band’s thoughts on this artistic achievement and the record’s themes below. But first, press play and let Angerot burn down the nearest kingdom with their riffage NOW.
Decibel Magazine interview with Angerot
The Splendid Iniquity was great, but the band really took some ambitious steps forward on The Divine Apostate. What were your goals for this record?
Angerot: Firstly, thanks for that compliment. We really just looked internally. When we lost our drummer, we were forced to rethink how we have done things. We have always had the privilege of close communication and the ability to meet up several times a week to pool riffs, hash them out and compose as a unit and now with an out-of-state drummer this was no longer a possibility. These changes absolutely made us more efficient and far more focused on assembly producing well composed material in the end. As far as the step forward in material, I think we all focused on breaking any expectations of what we felt people had of us being an HM2 focused band and just wrote what came naturally as opposed to forcing any aspects.
Your last record followed a concept following someone straying from purity and embracing deviance. Is there a lyrical concept or narrative for this album as well?
A: Splendid told a story more true to a concept album where Divine it more of a specific mindset throughout. Thematically it is very focused on shedding the skin of oppressive faith and finding inner strength and empowerment.
What are some of your favorite death metal records that embody a similar aesthetic step-forward that The Divine Apostate represents?
A: I think there are many that spotlight a band finding their pocket: Neuroticism, Monolith of Inhumanity, Covenant, Clandestine, Tomb of the Mutilated. I am definitely not saying we are anywhere near these masterpieces by any stretch, but to me… these were landmark moments for each of these bands and testament to them finding their pocket.
What do you have planned for Angerot for the rest of 2020 and beyond?
A: At this point… just surviving these crazy times. We were just in the process of booking dates for the new album and here came the plague. At this point we are going to wait out the storm. We will push as hard as possible online and back up the release with as much video work as we can manage in attempts to get eyes and ears on the album. 2020 is already proving to be one of the most insane years in modern history and hopefully we can be the soundtrack to this madness for metalheads worldwide. Stay safe and stay active!