Ever since their return at the legendary Thrash of the Titans benefit concert 15 years ago, Death Angel have risen to the top of their thrash metal game over the years. Their trio of classic albums from their late 80’s/early 90’s heyday (The Ultra-Violence, Frolic Through the Park and Act III respectively) will always be at the forefront of any thrashers mind when the name Death Angel crosses their ears.
However, their collection of modern day releases (The Art of Dying, Killing Season, Relentless Retribution and The Dream Calls for Blood) over the past 15 years have proven to be consistently catchy, heavy and fast with varying degrees of other flavours that Death Angel have thrown into the mix. Today in 2016, Death Angel are at the top of their game with their latest release, The Evil Divide, which further showcases the band’s ability to create memorable and great thrash metal which further cements their place in the upper echelons of thrash metal legend.
The Evil Divide kicks off with “The Moth” which begins with an epic sounding melodic intro before firing into a relentless fast thrashfest. The main riffs throughout the verses are more mid-paced but head-bangers nonetheless. The rest of the song showcase more simple yet catchy thrashing riffs with guitar and vocal harmonies aplenty, as well as crowd-pleasing singalong vocals. “Cause for Alarm” thrashes along with more catchy riffs – some more punky and others more thrashy. There’s more expert use of guitar harmonies in both the riffs and the shredding solos.
“Lost” (which the band have made a video for) slows down the pace a little and showcases the more melodic singing style frontman Mark Osegueda has in his arsenal alongside his more shouty approach. The song certainly has a more commercially appealing feel that makes it feel as if it should be aired on rock/metal radio stations everywhere.”Father of Lies” returns to a more mid-paced feel with a more thrashy riff making up the verses followed by another great twin guitar harmonised riff following the choruses. The mid-section marks a change with a cleaner melodic moment (which also gives bassist Damien Sisson a moment to shine) before another shredding solo. “Hell to Pay” returns to full speed demonstrating more simple yet catchy punk/thrash guitars.
The first half of the album is a great demonstration of the pure variety that Death Angel have to offer throughout The Evil Divide. The riffing is largely pretty simple but it’s effective, catchy and memorable from the all-out speed to the calmer melodic moments and the expert use of double-guitar harmonies in both the riffs and the solos. The second half of the album continues this great trend through the slower and moodier moments, both heavy and haunting, of “It Can’t Be This” to the more up-tempo “Hatred United/United Hate” (another video-spawning number) which features a guest guitar solo from Sepultura’s Andreas Kisser.
The speed continues in “Breakaway” which features plenty of shout-along moments that’s sure to go down well in a live setting. Reaching the home stretch of The Evil Divide, the last two tracks “The Electric Cell” and “Let The Pieces Fall” are great efforts to end Death Angel’s latest release. The former is another straightforward thrashing number with an expert use in time signatures changes throughout the song. The latter moves towards the album’s close at more stomping mid-paced that keeps the head banging through every riff until the end.
Thrash metal legends Death Angel’s latest album The Evil Divide is a solid effort. The songwriting is generally simple and straightforward but very effective and catchy. There’s plenty of splashes of different flavours peppered throughout the record which keep it interesting and memorable. From the tempo and time changes, to the haunting cleans and expert use of harmonies in both guitar riffs and solos, notes of The Evil Divide can be heard in the head after listening to the album. For Death Angel fans old and new alike, The Evil Divide is well worth getting a copy of to sit alongside the rest of their awesome back catalogue in the record collection.
Highlights: “The Moth”, “Cause For Alarm”, “Hatred United/United Hate”, “Breakaway” and “The Electric Cell” Score: 8/10