Interview: Entering the Sanctum with AngelMaker [2022]

AngelMaker are a band who have been making waves in the heavy music community for over a decade now–but it isn’t until recently that those ripples have turned into tidal waves. With the imminent release of Sanctum, a colossal record that both defines deathcore and expands upon that definition, we took the opportunity to talk shop with some of our favorite Canadian crushers.

The rollout for Sanctum, divided across four brief EPs, is something new for AngelMaker who have previously had fairly standard album release models. What prompted the decision to release the record in this way?

A few things helped us make the decision. Due to the global pandemic and not being able to tour or play shows the standard rollout of an album is heavily circulated around touring to promote new material. Without being able to tour, we decided to pivot and try something new. The hope was to keep us on people’s minds longer until shows came back. It was a fun and new experience.

Did that release pattern make any difference in how you went about conceptualizing the record or writing it? What was the writing process like for Sanctum, especially compared to your other records?

During the writing of the record, initially we didn’t plan to release it this way. We ended up just kind of adjusting as we went to make it work with how the world was being affected at the time. In terms of older material, none of our albums have ever had a concept, just a collection of songs and themes.

While your records like Dissentient, and to a lesser degree the self titled, have felt vaguely conceptual, Sanctum feels a little less so—like each song tells its own story. If accurate—was that an intentional decision by the band?

None of our albums have ever been conceptual. Our album Dissentient was probably the least conceptual. We were young at the time of writing our first album and all the lyric themes were all over the place and touched on whatever we thought would make a cool song. The self-titled, might have been slightly more conceptual in which the lyrics focus more on human emotion and less on fantastical ideas, but it definitely has a balance of both. Yet again, nothing was conceptualized. We always try to write each song as its own story and let each listener find their own meaning to each of the songs on the records. Having a lot of different themes makes for a more interesting experience, in my opinion. Sanctum follows this idea.
In a similar vein, sonically Sanctum is a very varied record; what were some of AngelMaker’s biggest influences in its creation?

We are always looking to expand the idea of what “Deathcore” is while still playing to the roots of the genre. There are no specific bands that influence us when writing, we take small parts of different things we like and blend them together with what we believe to be our sound. If anything, we are always looking back at bands we grew up loving during the Myspace age and try to do what they did, but with a modern twist. From Deathcore to Death Metal, Black Metal, Hardcore, Grindcore, Power Violence, Rap, Pop, it’s all a part of us in small ways.

What is one emotion you want to come through when people are experiencing Sanctum?

We always want people to be able to connect to our music, with that the specific feeling isn’t so important. If the listener is attached to the music that’s what is most important. Whether its through happiness, sadness, anger, joy, sorrow… etc. it doesn’t matter. If there is a connection that resonates in some way, that’s what is most important.   I was going to ask about plans after Sanctum drops, but I remembered you’re on the Chaos and Carnage tour! That’s gotta be awesome. How’s the rest of 2022 shaping up?2022 is looking great! We have a few other awesome opportunities on the table which we think will make for a great year. It’s been over 800 days since we last toured or even played a show so getting back to somewhat of a normal year is exciting! Once things open up and you can get around the globe more freely, what are some international places you want to play?
We will be going to Europe with Shadow of Intent early in 2023 which will be great. We would also love to get out to Asia and Australia sooner than later, maybe next year we can make it happen!

If you had the ability to play on one of those cruise ship concert things, what five bands would you bring along for the cruise?

Hmm tough question! Maybe The Black Dahlia Murder, Suicide Silence, Job for a Cowboy, Carnifex and Oceano.

 Last question—and it’s a weird one—let’s say you meet the love of your life, and things are good, or great even. But there’s an accident (beyond the knowledge of modern medicine) and suddenly every song (including commercial jingles) you hear sounds like it’s being sung by Six Feet Under’s frontman Chris Barnes. You can fix this—but in order to do so, you have to break the collarbones of your loved one with a hammer every day for the rest of their lives (they magically heal overnight, don’t ask questions). The question is—do you break their collarbones to not hear everything as sung by Chris Barnes?

I think this is definitely the weirdest question I have ever been asked. I guess I’d have to break some collar bones or just stab myself in the ears. 


Until next time! Keep those eyes open for review coverage of Sanctum coming soon!