AngelMaker levels listeners with a furious, focused, diverse, and violent extremity. Across a handful of split EPs and other releases, including two full-length albums, the Northern Vancouver seven-piece make their musical intentions clear. AngelMaker creates deathcore of the highest order, injected with blackened thrash, a smattering of power violence, and the urgent ferocity of underground hardcore.
Like genre standard-bearers Black Dahlia Murder, Despised Icon, and Whitechapel, AngelMaker summon the most brutal elements of Floridian death metal and combine it with the coldest permafrost of Scandinavian black metal, without the theatricality sometimes clouding the genres. The brand-new music unleashed by AngelMaker in 2021, crafted in recent months with producer Tim Creviston (Spiritbox, Misery Signals, Vultures), is the band’s most confident and destructive yet.
“We always strive to write music that makes people feel something emotionally intense,” explains singer Mike Greenwood, who shares vocal duties with Casey Tyson-Pearce. The triple-guitar assault of Coton Bennett, Matt Perrin, and Johnny Ciardullo, together with the rhythmic pulse of bassist Code Rideout, makes for a crushingly heavy, unforgivingly brutal, uniquely extreme metal sound.
AngelMaker reveres the old-school 2005 – 2010 era of deathcore, constantly reevaluating their own material to improve upon it with each release. The music combines with lyrics about personal struggles (fear, loss, sadness, anxiety), worldly ideas and concepts, and fantastical, cinematic themes.
“We are constantly pushing the boundaries of our signature sound, while staying true to the roots in classic deathcore,” says Greenwood. “There’s nothing more satisfying than having someone tell you, ‘This sounds like something I loved when I was growing up and just getting into deathcore.’ Nostalgia is such an intense emotion.”
As the band adapted to the concert-less conditions of the worldwide shutdown due to COVID-19, they crafted a release strategy to ensure their increasingly perfected modern deathcore is heard. The first eight tracks from the new album “Sanctum” appear as two-song “quadrants,” building anticipation for the eventual full-length, and keeping AngelMaker top of mind as a return to the road draws nearer.
The guys were all teenagers when the band formed (half of them even went to the same high school together) and began a decade long streak of independence that continues to this day. 2012’s Decay EP put them on the deathcore map. A three-way split EP with Lament and Isolations arrived the following year.
AngelMaker’s full-length debut, 2015’s Dissentient, was a massive standout, demonstrated by ferocious songs like “Godless, “A Dark Omen,” and “Leech,” the latter of which accumulated 1.8 million views on YouTube and 4.4 million Spotify streams. One Bandcamp commenter likened the album’s sound to “cutting your heart out with a rusty spoon.” Portland, Oregon-based producer Stephan Hawkes (Chelsea Grin, Attila, Red Fang) produced and mixed it.
The Unholy Alliance split with A Night In Texas arrived in 2016, less than a year before AngelMaker beat more than a dozen bands for a fan-voted spot on 2017’s Summer Slaughter Tour, featuring The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, The Faceless, Oceano, Slaughter To Prevail, Origin, Rings Of Saturn, Betraying The Martyrs, and Lorna Shore, among others. That momentum continued across Canada, with AngelMaker selected as the only opening act for The Faceless on a short trek.
The deathcore subreddit lit up in search of footage from AngelMaker’s spectacular performance at the Brutal Assault festival in 2018 in an 18th-century army fortress in Czechia. MetalSucks presented the fall’s Bloodletting North America tour, putting AngelMaker alongside Virginia’s Arsis; California’s Decrepit Birth; Slovenia’s Within Destruction; and New York’s Internal Bleeding and Pyrexia.
AngelMaker’s self-titled sophomore album emerged in 2019, punctuated by unrelenting tracks like “Hollow Heart,” “BLOODTHIRSTER” and “Requiem.” They supported the record with shows and tours alongside Despised Icon, Kublai Khan, and Ingested.
The band’s dual-vocal and triple-guitar composition allows for new and diverse explorations of extremity, setting AngelMaker both inside and apart from the traditions of the deathcore subgenre.
As Greenwood points out, AngelMaker “continues to strive for the freshness of modern extreme music while bearing the coveted torch of the old-school deathcore sound. And if we can write songs that make listeners go through a sort of catharsis, then I think we have done our jobs correctly.”
Beyond mere technicality and devastation, AngelMaker trade in emotion, eliciting unique feelings of sorrow, regret, anger, fear, and depression, taking listeners on immersive journeys within the songs.
As the British Columbian ensemble’s first new material in roughly two years seeps out from the underground in 2021, diehards and newcomers alike discover new revelations in their music. Now ten-years strong as an independent, do-it-yourself force, AngelMaker triumphantly stands tall.