Angelcorpse is an American black/death metal band. While famous for being the starting point for multiple prominent death metal musicians, they are a revered act in their own right that many a death metal fan lamented the demise of; when their 2016 reunion was announced, many a fan rejoiced.
Formed in Kansas City, Missouri in 1995 by Pete Helmkamp (vocals, bass) and Gene Palubicki (guitars), they quickly found a promising young drummer by the name of John Longstreth the following year and wasted no time in inducting him into the lineup; a demo, Goats to Azazeal, quickly followed, and it was evidently enough to get them a deal with the French-based label Osmose Productions. In addition, a second guitarist by the name of Bill Taylor joined, and Hammer of Gods, their full-length debut, came out in August of that year to great reviews. Much touring and several limited-release singles followed, and Exterminate, their sophomore album, quickly followed in 1998. Its distinctly more death metal-leaning direction alienated some of the black metal-leaning fans, but it was met with great fanfare nonetheless. That same year brought a relocation to Tampa, FL in November, which Longstreth could not swing (resulting in his departure); while Taylor was able to make it, he left almost immediately after. Longstreth was replaced by Tony Laureano in 1999, but Taylor was not replaced and the band continued as a three-piece. This new lineup recorded and released The Inexorable that same year, along with a split with Martire. Unfortunately, the band broke up that same year; a demo compilation and a live album were released posthumously, but the band was dead as a doornail.
That changed in 2006, when Helmkamp and Palubicki decided to resurrect the band. After a brief stint with Gina Ambrosio on drums, Longstreth (now distinctly more famous due to his involvement with Origin) returned; the result was Of Lucifer and Lightning, their first album in eight years, along with multiple tours. Unfortunately, tensions within the band resulted in Longstreth leaving once again, and after a revolving door of drummers came and went, Helmkamp and Palubicki finally called it quits for good in 2009. In spite of the unlikely nature of a reunion due to the various projects of Helmkamp and Palubicki plus some tension between the two, however, a 2016 reunion including Ronnie Parmer (Palubicki's drummer in Perdition Temple) was announced in late 2015 on at least a live basis. Bill Taylor was originally slated to be part of the reunion, but all parties agreed that it was for the best for him to limit his musical activities to Immolation and Perdition Temple. This is not a permanent reunion, however; after 2017, the band will become permanently inactive once again. The band spiritually still exists as Perdition Temple, but all parties have stated that Angelcorpse proper will never see the light of day again.
- Goats to Azazeal (1996) - demo
- Hammer of Gods (1996)
- Nuclear Hell (1997) - single
- Wolflust (1997) - single
- Exterminate (1998)
- The Inexorable (1999)
- Winds of Desecration / Hellstorm - Chaosrape (1999) - split with Martire
- Iron, Blood & Blasphemy (2001) - compilation
- Death Dragons of the Apocalypse (2002) - live album
- Of Lucifer and Lightning (2007)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Bald of Awesome: Pete Helmkamp and Gene Palubicki.
- Black Metal: Heavily influenced by it; while leaning much more towards the "death" side of the spectrum overall, Hammer of Gods was closer to it than anything else they've done.
- Cover Version: They have covered "Desecration of Virgin" (Sarcofago), "Demon Seed", "Kill Again", "Eat Me Alive", "Burning in Hell" (Possessed), "Pleasure to Kill", and "Genghis Khan".
- Death Metal: While heavily influenced by black metal, they were ultimately rooted in this.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Hammer of Gods was far closer to black metal than anything following it and was fairly reminiscent of Impaled Nazarene soundwise.
- Epic Rocking: "Embrace" (6:07), "Sons of Vengeance" (6:18), and "Saints of Blasphemy" (6:03).
- Lead Bassist: Pete Helmkamp is Types B and C.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10, occasionally scraping 11.
- New Sound Album: Exterminate was distinctly more brutal and rooted in death metal. This is the sound that they opted to keep.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Pete Helmkamp.
- Religion Rant Song: Their primary lyrical theme.
- Revolving Door Band: They went through a whole lot of drummers in their time.
- Rock Trio: After Bill Taylor left, as they opted to not replace him. He was supposed to play the reunion shows, but various personal issues led to a mutual decision that he should sit it out and stick to Immolation and Perdition Temple.
- Signature Style: Exceedingly fast, blastbeat-laden death metal with a sharp-yet-dirty guitar sound (courtesy of Palubicki's seven-string) and a riffing style that tends to meld death and black conventions together, half-rasped, half-roared vocals, and chaotic yet fairly technical soloing.
- The Social Darwinist: A prominent underlying lyrical theme of theirs. Pete Helmkamp expresses this ideology in interviews, though he may have disavowed it fairly recently.Pete Helmkamp: The next step of evolution, Homo Deus, can think morally and ethically on a logical plane, not on a mythological one. He doesnt bind himself with false parameters that cloud the decision making process. He does what he does because it is right! We burn cattle in England because of a terrible contagious disease. Do we burn humans in Africa because of a terrible contagious disease? We proscribe birth control to koala bears in Australia after we allowed the population to grow out of control. Firstly, wouldnt bullets be cheaper, and then we could utilize the meat. Secondly, do we proscribe birth control to humans that we allow to grow out of control? We proscribe rice. Indeed. Evolution does not happen over night. Many, many more heretics will be burned at the stake before the next stage is reached. If we dont drown in the morass first
- Special Guest: Andrea Janko and Francesco Ponga have both served as live session members for the reunion shows.
- Spiritual Successor: Perdition Temple (one of Gene's post-Angelcorpse projects) was intended to be this the moment that Angelcorpse folded, to the point where Gene emailed their label in Angelcorpse's final days to tell them that Angelcorpse was going to call it quits extremely soon, but that he had a new band set up that would be picking up right where Angelcorpse was leaving off. Furthermore, multiple tracks on Edict of the Antichrist Elect were originally written for Angelcorpse, and in some cases even predated the tracks on Of Lucifer and Lightning.
- Start My Own: Helmkamp started Kerasphorus and Abhomine, while Palubicki started Blasphemic Cruelty, Apocalypse Command, and Perdition Temple. This is commonly also thought to be the case with Longstreth and Origin, but he actually started with them a couple years after they had formed.