I like the idea of slam more than I like slam. And I do like slam. However, in the overcrowded realms of modern extreme metal, finding decent slam bands amidst the also-ran examples of the sub-genre, loaded with incomprehensible, mushy song-writing and cartoonish brutality, lands slam firmly in the hit or miss category. Perhaps I’m not delving deep enough into the murky underground depths of the scene. Yet finding a diamond in the rough amidst the uncompromising slam death landscape is always a pleasure. The grinding trials and tribulations of the average underground extreme metal band conspired against Seattle’s Angel Splitter, with various circumstances leading to a significant delay of the release of their debut LP, Descension of Demonic Paraphilia, originally slated to drop last October. So strap yourselves in and prepare to be slammed.
Descension of Demonic Paraphilia contains all the requisite elements slam fiends expect, in all their grotesque and gloriously over-the-top glory. Tough as nails and broodle as fuck, Angel Splitter grind, slam and blast through ridiculously down-tuned depths of sewage slurping depravity. But thankfully Angel Splitter have a few tricks up their sleeves to stand out from the average slam band. For starters, Descension to Demonic Paraphilia is a surprisingly dynamic album, boosted by smart drum patterns, catchy riffs, and creativity in the song structure and tempo departments. While there’s ample blasting and bursts of speed, Angel Splitter wisely ease off the gas pedal to allow the songs to breathe and mutate in hideously fun and memorable ways. “Descension” is an intriguing gem, a slam-styled instrumental track of substance and creativity, displaying crushing grooves, dissonant guitar work, slivers of melody, and solid musicianship. “Necrosadistic Adolescent Vengeance” hits with sledgehammer on concrete force and benefits from its more diverse vocal attack and brief moments of subtle restraint. Other highlights include the ridiculously heavy “Masticating the Damned” and charred black onslaught of “He, Who Devours.”
The guitar work is a constant standout, bending expectations by surrounding the demonically filthy riffs with eerie atmospheric contortions, and the occasional shreddy solo provides tasty moments of eloquence and melody. Meanwhile the tar thick riffs and intensity of the slams lend the album its solid degree of memorability. Descension to Demonic Paraphilia clocks-in a shade under 40 minutes, which is a lot to take in of this sort of brutal hammering, though it is a fairly consistent album from woah to go. The sort of dense and pummeling brutality Angel Splitter revel in is not for the faint of heart, but I’ve certainly heard less accessible examples of brutal slam-oriented death. Though listeners not well versed in brutal death will likely find the material a bit too tough to swallow, especially the incomprehensible rhythmic onslaught of the band’s main vocal arsenal.
As impressive as this debut LP proves to be, there’s room for improvement, which makes the future of Angel Splitter an exciting prospect, considering the overall strength of the album. I actually really dig the gritty, underground production, though a few refinements here and there wouldn’t go astray. The opening intro is a tad pointless considering the cutthroat immediacy offered throughout the album, while the tough guy self promotion and posturing on first proper track “Domination through Disembowelment” is a bit cringey, briefly taking me out of the album’s dank and viscous atmosphere. Descension to Demonic Paraphilia also benefits when the vocal approach is mixed up, particularly through the guest spots that litter the album, deviating from the appropriately guttural but occasionally monotonous burping growls that dominate proceedings.
If slam is not your jam, perhaps Angel Splitter wont be for you, though I highly recommend checking out this impressively guttural and brutal platter regardless, as it offers a fresh and inventive angle that skillfully navigates the pitfalls of lesser slam albums. Heavy as an elephant orgy, and just as ugly, Descension to Demonic Paraphilia teeters on the edge of greatness and sets the bar high for slam death in 2019.