There are exceptions to most rules but, by and large, the death metal faithful aren’t really the faithful type, at least in the theological sense. Sure, there are some christian death metal bands (quality not guaranteed), but it’s a style that lends itself way easier to ripping an angel apart than praising one. The fury, speed, and anger inherent in the music, not to mention the Satanic and gory motifs common to the genre, make the perfect outlet for those of us who consider ourselves more of apostates than apostles. Honestly, can you imagine your local megachurch throwing down a choir version of “Immortal Rites?” If the blasphemous side of death metal is what appeals to you, South Dakota’s Angerot will be more than happy to help you on the path to Hell.
Since founding in 2017, Angerot has put out two killer records, 2018’s The Splendid Iniquity and 2020’s The Divine Apostate. On March 24, the band will present their third offering to the legions of the damned when they release The Profound Recreant. If early singles are any indication, it’s another fast-paced death metal outing filled with all kinds of special guests and delightful blasphemy. I recently caught up with guitarist/vocalist Chad Petit to get the info on Angerot’s third album.
First off, how did Angerot get started? How did you guys meet and what made you want to start a death metal band together?
Chad: Angerot formed after Jason [Ellsworth], our former drummer Josh [Ferrie] and I left our previous band, Tennessee Murder Club. We wanted to do something that revolved around our passion for ’90s Death Metal. We discussed in depth the path we wanted to take before forming Angerot.
Our relationship as musicians goes way back to the very early ’90s. We all spent time together in a band called Suffer that formed in 1989 and is still around today. I have been in Suffer since day one and Jason and I are still members. [Bill] Zaugg spent time in Suffer in the early ’90s as well. We were one of the first death metal bands in the midwest.
What got you guys into death metal in the first place? Who are some of the bigger inspirations for this particular band?
Chad: I think we were all attracted to the aggressively unique energy that early death metal contained. Obviously we all landed on different influences, but many were centrally shared, and we grew upon that with Suffer. We traveled, played shows, and went to concerts as a unit and collectively grew as a unit as a result. We talk about it and reminisce about how fortunate we all were to grow up in the musical era that we did. As far as our influences, all you need to do is reference our guest lists on each album. Nearly every single guest has been an icon and influence of ours. It is absolutely surreal to have those who shaped who you are as part of these albums.
You guys seem to have had a pretty consistent lineup. What makes you all work so well together and how do you keep a healthy band dynamic?
Chad: Jason, Zaugg, and I have worked together for so many years that it is really just second nature. We have learned to cope and deal with each other as lifelong friends do in any circumstance. We all know when to be there as a friend and when to give each other some space. The three of us have little interest or patience for drama. Finding and keeping a drummer who fits that mold has been a whole other story. We have officially parted ways with Matt [Johnson] and are working with a couple session guys to help with a few shows this year and we are actively looking for a full time drummer as we speak.
What’s the local scene like for you up there in South Dakota? Is it pretty active and do you feel like it has had an effect on the band in any way?
Chad: We have been involved in our local scene and played a big role in forming the regional metal scene with Suffer, nurtured it with Tennessee Murder Club, and expanded beyond it a bit with Angerot. We have had a strong scene since the late ’80s. Our roles have changed as we have aged and it has been interesting to watch younger bands come up and fill voids and continuously carry the flag forward.
What’s the music writing process like in the band? Has it changed at all as time has gone on?
Chad: For the longest time, we wrote and rehearsed as a unit in a classic garage band atmosphere….and we loved it and thrived with it. We had that method in place since 1989, but once Josh left Angerot after Splendid Iniquity, things changed. When Matt joined we had to modify our approach in writing and rehearsal. We went from all of us in one room to a couple of us hashing things out in a studio environment and then bashing the tracks out for live and recording. It was a very strange transition at first, but we have since embraced the process and ultimately found a way to be very proficient and produce some very strong material as a result.
What’s your lyric writing process like? What type of subjects do you like to write about for this band and what draws you to those subjects?
Chad: I have taken the same approach to lyric writing for decades. I never start until the music is complete and demo tracked. I like to write to the details that make each song. I will break each song down by part to get a feel for vocal patterns and work for hooks and catchy one-liners and build from there. I have a list of topics, concepts, and interesting historical topics that have solid backbones for song topics. I watch a shitload of documentaries and historical shows to feed upon. I love to stick to darker topics or topics that leave a dark open end for listeners to follow their own thoughts as they listen and read along. As I have aged, I have grown fond of dark poetry. Meaning, the lyrics have to feel elegant, intelligent, and profound. Poetic without losing the listener.
Going back to your first LP, The Splendid Iniquity, what was the writing/recording process like for that one? How did getting to do that first record come about and what did you learn from the process that you took to future recordings?
Chad: It was raw, very raw. We went headfirst into our passion for HM2-powered Swedish death metal. We hit writing full blast and with little to no second guessing our process. We knew who we wanted on the album as guests and more importantly, we knew we wanted to go to the source of the Stockholm sound by having the one who created it handle the production, Thomas Skogsberg. We were definitely flying blind and learning a tremendous amount in doing so.
I’m super stoked for the new record coming out this spring. What can you tell me about The Profound Recreant? Did you want to build off the sound of The Divine Apostate or go in new directions? How was the recording/writing process this time around?
Chad: In some ways, Profound is an expansion on Divine. The core of both albums were written at the same time and the drum tracks were actually recorded at the same time, but by no means are they a part I and part II. We took everything we learned with Divine and pushed that knowledge as hard as we could to new levels. The biggest leap for Profound was that we threw our inhibitions out the window. If we had an idea…we tried it, then tried it again. We worked extremely hard to fill in all the voids and to make sure each track felt like it had a shine to it in our minds. We explored symphonic elements, choir elements, and acoustic elements. As we listened to tracks as they grew, we were constantly throwing ideas into the pot of what and who may sound good as additions. I personally wanted to explore and attempt a more diverse vocal approach without losing the power and aggression that I always try to deliver.
I love the track you just premiered, “Bastard Creature.” What’s the lyrical and musical inspiration behind that one? How did you get Sammy Duet and Jack Owen to guest on it and how stoked are you with the final result?
Chad: “Bastard” was actually near fully written for the last album but for some reason felt incomplete to me, so we held it for this album. I wanted to spend time on the lyrical concept a bit more. It Is based on two simple concepts: 1.) human nature to twist the truth or straight out lie to benefit no matter the cost to others and 2.) That Gabriel lied to the followers. That it wasn’t Christ, but Lucifer who was born to the world. He simply told the people what they wanted to hear to further his position of power. Not far from the clowns we have running our country into the ground as we speak. As far as Sammy and Jack…we have had their names in the bucket for some time. I have been friends with Jack for over a decade and worked with him on a few projects including the new Empty Throne. Jack is a steller dude and always great to work with. Sammy was pulled into the loop by Jason and Zaugg as they were big Acid Bath fans and built a friendship with Sammy a long time back. Sammy was great to work with and did a fantastic job.
I also really dug the single, “They Shall Take Up Serpents.” What’s the musical and lyrical origin of that one?
Chad: “Serpents” takes a dive into the realm of the insane snake handling cults that rose up in the early 1900s and just how far some are willing to go to test their fate in faith. That whole concept seems so backwards and insane to me.
How about the story behind “Horns Ov Moses?” I really liked that one as well!
Chad: “Horns” is a personal favorite of mine. That song has a drive and power to it that just rules to my ears. That and how Simon [Olsen] absolutely crushes with his vocal contribution. I have been a fan of his since first hearing Crosswhore. Such a powerful voice. “Horns” basically questions who Moses truly was. Years back I went down the rabbit hole on Moses and his rebirth as a horn bearing, anger-filled, and feared individual. I recommend researching it, then digging into the lyrics.
The cover for that record is really killer too. Who did it and how much direction did you give them? How stoked were you when you saw the final piece?
Chad: We have worked with Jon Zig on all three of our album covers and he absolutely killed it…as usual. There is a bond between each album cover and each album title. It’s all part of a grand plan.
Being that this is your third record, how do you feel the band has grown and evolved from the debut to this one? To what do you attribute that growth?
Chad: We definitely work to push ourselves with each record in structure, production, and final product. We have become incredibly passionate about the process and the passion grows with each album. We absolutely love the process and the results, hopefully fans do as well. I personally used to dread hitting the studio for all of its tedious aspects…however, I think all of us can agree that our mindset has flipped completely. We are now 100% focused and driven to hit the studio each and every time.
Lastly, what’s next for Angerot? What are your goals for the future of the band?
Chad: We are already halfway through the musical process for the next album. We are probably more excited for the next album than any of the past records…which says a LOT. With everything we have learned and the connections we have made, our options and abilities are at a new level. We have some very exciting plans for the next one and we are going to jump right into [it].
Photo at top: The Profound Recreant album cover.