Friday, May 27, 2016

Death Angel : "the Evil Divide"

2016 is the year the kings of metal return triumphantly to prove themselves. Anthrax, Metal Church and Flotsam & Jetsam have all had strong showing challenging the less than mediocre stuff bands like Slayer have been releasing in recent years. Death Angel is throwing their name in for a crown with their new album. Rob and Mark might be the only original members, but They come on fast and furious with a quick burst of punk fueled thrash. Solos burn out from every crack of this mean machine. Always capable of this kind of aggression this band was one of the first to see the writing on the wall in the late 80s and cross over into a more alternative form of metal. This line up which finds Anglo blood in the mix has been intact for three albums now. It seems more dynamic than the few I have heard in-between this and the 14 year break they took after "Act 3".  When the band split with Mark to form the Organization in the 90's the certainly got more punchy than they were on "Act 3".

 There is a more melodic slant to "Lost" that proves Mark still has the pipes. They don't linger on that for long with spit fire vocals to "Father of Lies" snarling over the jagged thrash riffs. The thrash keeps coming with the frantic that is tightly executed, but not the album's most memorable moment. There new bassist might not be Gus Peppa, but they do manage to lock into a pretty convincing groove on "It Can't Be This" that finds a perfect balance of aggression meeting hooks.  The drumming courtesy of Will Carroll who has played with every one from Machine Head to Vicious Rumors to Hammers of Misfortune, is dialed in to perfection on this track and impressive through out. The color by numbers thrash metal of "Hatred United" is not as impressive, but remains high energy. There is the more hard core side of thrash on "Breakaway", which I find less interesting than the album's more groove oriented moments. His more melodic moments show up here and there, but he is in a higher pitched thrash bark for the bulk of the album.

There is a little nuance added to the song writing on "the Electric Cell", but heaviness seems to be a major priority here.The powerful of the big closer "Let the Pieces" is both fun and heavy. It gives Mark room to sing and plenty of space for solos to coming flying out at you. I'll round this one up to an 8. Death Angel were once more concerned with being original than the the fastest thrash going, and this album doesn't live up to their legacy in that regard and maybe have been the result of the original members balancing one another out. This album keeps up with the rest of the pack, so now we are just waiting to see if Testament can bring it.

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