Exploding onto the legendary San Francisco Bay area scene in the 1980s, Death Angel have firmly established what they are all about over the years. But they aren’t ones to rest on their laurels, and they are now getting ready to release the follow up to The Dream Calls for Blood, The Evil Divide, which is scheduled for release this month via Nuclear Blast.
The opening track, “The Moth,” wastes no time getting right down to it. A brief intro incorporates syncopated, single-noted guitars leading directly into a full on thrash assault, which then drops into a well-flowing half-time verse. The chorus rips viciously at full-on, ludicrous speed. One of the things that I feel has always sets Death Angel apart is their ability to play fast and still provide groove. They also take varying pieces and link the larger components of their arrangements together. The middle portion of the song, prior to the searing solo on “The Moth,” is another great example of that. It’s technical and possesses a great organic flow and feel.
“Hatred United/United Hate” is another outstanding example which begins with a semi-clean guitar, great accents, syncopated drums, bass and guitars driving into the opening verse. All the great changes of varying speeds and grooves punch it into a great chorus. The mid-song breakdown provides some great separation and provides the perfect foundation for the solo while setting the tone for a return back to the semi-clean intro that again dives back into powerful chorus to complete the circle. Clocking in at five minutes and 48 seconds, the final track, “Let The Pieces Fall,” is the longest on the release. We see the variance of speed, hooky grooves and breakdowns here, as well as interesting changes and a chorus that is infectious as well as driving.
Recorded at Audio Hammer Studios, Death Angel have again have chosen to work with Jason Suecof (Trivium, Deicide, BattleCross). The quality is no surprise at this point. The guitars are crisp, the bass and drums are clear, and the defined the vocals will shear your face off. It’s everything you’d expect from Death Angel. The songs are well-crafted, well-arranged, and they keep you engaged for the duration. There’s no filler here. It’s pure, hard-driving thrash with the intelligent integration of dynamics to provide enough variance to keep the listener’s attention. Personally, I would have liked another six-plus minute epic on this one, and perhaps a grand intro to lead things off; however, The Evil Divide picks up from where they left off on The Dream Calls For Blood.
Almost 30 years since their epic debut, The Ultra Violence, I truly feel Death Angel are in top form and have never sounded better. They are tighter than ever. They are hungry, focused, driven and unyielding in their approach. This album reinforces the old adage that what doesn’t kill makes you stronger. Whether you are a recent fan or if you have been in it for the long haul, do yourself a favor and pick this up as release. It doesn’t disappoint.
The Evil Divide is out May 27 on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):