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Despite its typically over-the-top and controversial nature, the brutal death and slam genres have notably become pretty overdone and trendy in the past several years or so. So, with that being said, this next release will one up almost everything you think you knew about slam and bring in something new to the table...a breath of fresh air, so to speak. Angel Splitter is a Washington State-based project that was initially the brainchild of Merrick Thacker, who formed the band singlehandedly back in 2014, and it has evolved into a four-piece lineup since, with a few single and an EP under their belt. And now, the debut full-length is finally here to graze our ears and pique our interest. With all that out of the way, let's check it out!
The band's debut album titled Descension to Demonic Paraphilia serves as a brutal reminder that not everything is what it seems on the surface. The dozen songs amounting to nearly forty minutes of content on here encompass mostly a mixture of slamming brutal death metal and beatdown overtones with several elements of blackened vibes and other extreme metal influences to be heard. The album was released back in February of 2019 through Angel Splitter themselves and also features guest vocal spots from other frontmen in the scene such as Brandon Smith (Agonal Breathing) as well as Kevin O'Laughlin (Strychnia).
The album opens up with a longwinded ambiance intro track that leads into 'Domination Through Disembowelment', which proves to be a vaguely slammy and vulgar song with some beatdown influences and pig squeals towards the end. Not really the start I expected, but okay you've got my attention. Then, a couple more songs in when 'He, Who Devours' comes on, the stuff really hits the fan. The blackened variety of elements kicks in, ranging from melodies to undertones, and the blend of brutal vocals and riffs with black metal atmosphere is really something. The guest spots on this release are a very strong point, too. Yet another huge positive I have to give Angel Splitter is the clarity and well-roundedness of the drumming samples, which can sound off plenty times in this type of music. The production does the whole thing justice, too.
The track 'Descension' and beyond is where the guitar riffs really start to vary. From tremolos to bends and some soloing even, it just doesn't let up ever. The instrumental tracks (which there are three of) all feel fitting as opposed to just being there as intermissions or filler. I really felt the emotion and energy in every note and the band also knows when to change sound and structure to make the listeners feel a sense of awe at times. Sometimes, though, I had a hard time distinguishing the bass lines, which isn't too big of a deal when everything else sounds so intricate. The bass playing is spot on from a technical standpoint, but I was unsure of the production and sound of it. Two more songs I'd like to give credit to are 'Crucifixion Fixation' for its meaty riffs and chromatics as well as 'Necrosadistic Adolescent Vengeance' for its darker, moodier vibes, more nostalgic production and vocals, and its standout outro. Other than that, there are only a few little issues I had with this release: one of them being the overly long outro track; but, overall, it's a banger in its own playing field and own right.
To top it all off, all I can really say more is that Angel Splitter somewhat exceeded my expectations, even with all the positive things I've heard about them in the past, and have demonstrated both vehement brutal and blackened energy through their new album. This goes to show that the slam and brutal death scenes could use more of this type of experimentation and energy in some of the material to remedy all the repetitiveness and such. And, at the end of the day, it's not what type of music you play that necessarily matters...it's what you do with it.
Fave Tracks: 'He, Who Devours', 'Crucifixion Fixation', 'Necrosadistic Adolescent Vengeance'
For Fans Of: Devour The Unborn, Hateful Transgression
**This release is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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