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Kvlt Kommandos Pt. 1 - Pete Helmkamp

Starting a new thing honoring some of metal's finest practitioners - guys that have never given up on true metal and created some damn fine pieces of work along the way. The first segment is dedicated to Pete Helmkamp, a man who has been in a ton of different projects that all rule.
1Order From Chaos
Stillbirth Machine


Your Reason Pete Helmkamp's first studio album and easily one of the best pieces of blackened death metal to come have ever come from the United States - recorded during 1991, Stillbirth Machine is way ahead of its time, standing as a near perfect amalgam of black, death and thrash metal. With one of the most filthy production jobs known to man, some of the superb guitar riffs may get lost in the mix but when you can hear what guitarist Chuck Keller is doing, there is nothing but respect; his tone and style would come to be one of the most replicated in the extreme metal community in years to come. As for Helmkamp's performance, his bass style is equally erratic and his vomited mid-range belch will make you want to throw up in your mouth. What's perhaps most amazing is that while this got the ball rolling, this is the band's least developed release; yes Order From Chaos's next two releases build upon the formula laid down here, revealing the amazing potential this trio had all along. However, despite that, the sheer raw nature of Stillbirth Machine still makes it one of their most notable releases and one that definitely deserves its place in the annals of extreme metal history.
2Order From Chaos
An Ending In Fire


Although Order From Chaos's second album, Dawn Bringer displayed a considerable amount of progression from this Kentucky based blackened death unit, their swansong effort An Ending In Fire is the culmination of everything Order From Chaos strove to be; the already impressive musicianship has improved by leaps and bounds, a stronger production provides more clarity to the chaos and the songwriting has been taken to new heights. Each song develops in a natural,flowing stream, seamlessly going from impressive riff to impressive riff. Taking some songs from previous albums but recording them once again with new tracks, this album really is made up of Order From Chaos's strongest material. Definitely recommended.
3Angelcorpse
Hammer of Gods


In 1995 after the demise of Order From Chaos Helmkamp went to form what would arguable become his most famous project, Angelcorpse. Rounded out by guitar duo Bill Taylor and Gene Palubicki and drummer John Longstreth, Hammer of Gods is another debut featuring Helmkamp that would go on to influence legions of budding extreme metal musicians. Abandoning Order From Chaos's more thoughtful approach for one that goes right for the throat, Angelcorpse was a full-throttle assault on the senses, taking the unorthodox guitar style of Morbid Angel and fusing it with black metal's unrelenting pace. Once again, the debut for Angelcorpse isn't the necessarily the best album in their impressive discography but it may the most important, setting the foundation for Angelcorpse's next two albums.
4Angelcorpse
The Inexorable


Honestly, it was extremely difficult to choose between the group's second album Exterminate or the last record created during the band's initial run, The Inexorable, I ultimately had to go with the latter - while Exterminate tightened Angelcorpse's already burgeoning blackened death metal sound, The Inexorable upheld this changes while also adding a few more slower paced sections, adding some great diversity to the band's sound. Replacing original drummer John Longstreth with extreme metal drummer extraordinaire Tony Laureano, the percussive elements of Anglecorpse increased greatly, with Laureano really complimenting Palubicki's now wildly chaotic guitar work. On Exterminate the guitarist started to define his own style and here he really cements it; fast and furious, his off-kilter riffage is one of kind, combining furious tremolo picking with chunky death metal chugs with ease. As always his solo are short, sweet and always enjoyable, absolute shred masterpieces that never overstay their welcome and always add greatly to the band's storming metal practice. Much like he always has, Helmkamp completely dominates in the vocal area, his familiar rasp gaining a bit more clarity here for the additional bite. Breaking up in the same year as the release of this album, Angelcorpse never sounded so good, and this album would bring the end to a successful triumvirate of classic albums.
5Kerasphorus
Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn


After an ill-fated Angelcorpse reunion in 2006 and mostly serving in the background as bassist for Revenge from 2004, Kerasphorus saw the return of Helmkamp in a true, glorious style. Kerasphorus and its debut Cloven Hooves at the Holocaust Dawn for all intents and purposes was Angelcorpse for the modern day; joined by the amazing James Reed of Conqueror, Revenge, and Axis of Advance amongst others, Kerasphorus was a more dynamic approach to an old formula. Overall a darker affair that further explored the contrasts between droning slow and unbelievably fast segments, this new project could have gone so far if not for itss untimely demise in 2011 after the release of their second EP. Still Kerasphorus was more than just another great project - its success proved that no matter what year or decade it is, Pete Helmkamp will always remain relevant blackened metal market. Where he'll go from here we have no idea, but I suspect Pete Helmkamp isn't even close to done yet and will soon arise with another astounding blackened death metal project to kick all of our asses.
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