Think back to the heady days of the Bay Area thrash movement of the 80’s, and it's surprising how many of the bands from that era are still around and releasing strong material as well as playing live shows with the same amount of energy and passion that was apparent back then. A few bands come to mind, Testament for one, who continue to soldier on with a rabidly loyal fan base and the will to keep thrash alive. Exodus too, with 2015’s ‘Blood In Blood Out’ album proving to be one of their best releases of the their long and varied career.
Another of the Bay Area’s most over looked bands is Death Angel, who along with their contemporaries have overcome many spanners in the works over the years. However their 2013 opus; ‘The Dream Calls For Blood’ was another outstanding piece of work. Their latest release for Nuclear Blast ‘The Evil Divide’ - which is their 8th studio album - follows on nicely from ‘Blood’, and is another sure fire pleaser for the hard core fan base that continues to grow.
Opening track ‘The Moth’ kicks off with a brooding riff before the listener is plunged head first into some classic sounding thrashing with ripping guitars courtesy of Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar. Vocalist Mark Osegueda is in fine form here barking out the vocal lines with gusto. The production from Jason Suecof (Trivium, Deicide) is crystal clear, and shows off the obvious talents of the entire band effortlessly.
‘Cause For Alarm’ is another barnstormer with some superb double bass flurries from drummer Will Carroll. What becomes clear as the listener continues to take in the album is that Death Angel are not fucking around here. The hunger is definitely still present, and every track showcases a band in their absolute element. There's not going to be a fan of metal that won't be impressed with the sheer power and intensity of 2016 Death Angel: They certainly mean business.
Elsewhere, ‘Lost’ begins with a riff that would sit comfortably on a Papa Roach album before Osegueda puts in a superb performance vocally with some great melodies. Lyrically the track deals with loss of loved ones that everyone will be able to relate to.
‘Father Of Lies’ meanwhile harks back to some of the bands earlier material, with a combination of full on fret melting guitar work jumping back and forth with more melodic vibes taking the listener on a journey of neck breaking metal and beautifully relaxed harmonies.
Death Angel absolutely deserve their place in thrash metal history, and ‘The Evil Divide’ should put the band back at the forefront of their genre. A very strong album that will have every fan of metal throwing their horns for all they are worth.
By Lee Kendrick on 21st June 2016.
'The Evil Divide' is out now.