AngelMaker – Sanctum (Album Review)

AngelMaker – Sanctum
Released: March 11, 2022

Line Up:

Casey Tyron-Pearce // Vocals
Mike Greenwood // Vocals
Colton Bennett // Guitar
Matt Perrin // Guitar
Johnny Ciardullo // Guitar
Cole Rideout // Bass

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Self-described as performing ‘good old fashioned deathcore’, Vancouver, Canada’s AngelMaker make no bones about their love of the golden era of extreme metal’s most divisive sub-genre. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, AngelMaker double down on the style’s best and most punishing elements on album number three, Sanctum. Having slowly been releasing new material in the form of two-track EPs since September last year, this release is an amalgamation of those four previously dropped extended plays, as well as six new songs.

Intro track ‘Slaughter’ is almost hilarious in its sheer audacity – its combination of endless filthy breakdowns and dialogue lifted from Tom Cruise’s impassioned performance from Tropic Thunder sets the tone for the rest of the LP perfectly. One could argue that at fourteen tracks and 45 minutes long the album maybe could have used a little trimming back. The endless barrage of brutality can initially make the songs blend into one and another, but after repeated listens the high points of Sanctum begin to stick out. ‘Eating the Body of God’, ‘The Great Grey Flag’ and excellent closer ‘Exit Signs’ are fine examples of the genre – crushingly heavy, with thick grooves and ear-grabbing hooks. 

Vengeance’ is a big highlight for the album, with its huge ending packing the finest breakdown of the bunch – and for a release brimming with them this is a big call. A highly memorable vocal-led beatdown kicks off the ending, before an unexpected tempo and feel change drops for the last few bars – it’s impossible to not make the stank-face when it hits. While this chanted breakdown is peak 2010s deathcore, the band keep Sanctum in the modern era with a subtle blackened influence lurking. Whether it be the tremolo picked minor chords behind blast beats, or the usage of more atmospheric leads to add layers of tension and dread, as heard on ‘Effulgence’ and ‘Lazarus’. 

The usage of two singers might seem like overkill (don’t tell that to fellow Canucks Despised Icon), but duel frontmen Casey TyronPearce and Mike Greenwood combine to tick basically every deathcore vocalist box – gutturals, mids, screams, pig squeals, shrieks; no stone is left unturned. It’s not just the vocals that pull out all the tricks, instrumentally it’s far from monotonous drums and ’0101’ guitar work, the boys can really play. Back-to-back duo ‘Wither’ and ‘Bloom’ – the latter featuring the orchestral and keyboard talents of rising Australian artist Misstiq – packs some top-notch shredding and some of Sanctum’s most dynamic and melodic moments.

While the deathcore genre might not be as fresh and hot as it was a decade ago, it has seen something of a resurgence in the last couple of years, and AngelMaker have pushed themselves right to the top of the heap with Sanctum. If you don’t enjoy deathcore, than this is not the album for you – BUT if you’re already a devotee of the genre I guarantee you that will enjoy Sanctum; it’s a fun, albeit surprise-free release. But sometimes in life you want things to do exactly what they say on the box – and with Sanctum, AngelMaker achieve this. Good old fashioned deathcore indeed.

AngelMaker – Sanctum tracklisting:

1. Slaughter
2. Creator’s Conscience
3. Eating The Body Of God
4. Effulgence
5. Vengeance
6. Gutless
7. The Great Grey Flame
8. What I Would Give
9. Oppressive Control
10. Lazarus
11. The Weight
12. Wither
13. Bloom
14. Exit Signs 

Rating: 7.5/10
Sanctum is out now. Listen here
Review By Andrew Kapper. Twitter: @andrew_kapper

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