After almost three years of non-stop touring behind the-nothing-short-of-brilliant Relentless Retribution released in 2010, and a run commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Ultra-Violence, thrash metal stalwarts Death Angel have emerged from the studio. The fruits of their labors? The Dream Calls For Blood, out October 15 via Nuclear Blast Records. Now, Retribution was pretty damn aggressive and had an attitude and bite sorely missing from other bands of their ilk’s releases at the time. Which begs the question: Is The Dream Calls For Blood worth the wait? The answer is a resounding YES.
Opener “Left For Dead” grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go almost immediately. Guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar are all systems go on this one and pretty much every other song, too. It’s loud, it’s nasty, and it’s in-your-face. “Son of the Morning” picks up the baton and runs with it, vocalist Mark Osegueda screaming at the top of his lungs to really open ‘er up at the start. “Fallen” is another one that is a veritable speed demon with drummer Will Carroll in the driver’s seat over a landscape of riffs and a blistering solo. Those are two things that are never in short supply with Death Angel, thank God. Bassist Damien Sisson has some nice runs here, too.
Now we get to arguably the best song, title track “The Dream Calls For Blood”. It not only does the cover artwork justice, it is a well-oiled killing machine designed to rip faces off and eat them. When this was made available for streaming over the summer I couldn’t get enough of it and owning it now only ensures a thousand more spins. “Succubus” is another fairly aggressive number that features an interesting militaristic cadence on the breakdown. The soft acoustic flavors that made an appearance here and there on the last record make their presence known at the beginning of “Execution/Don’t Save Me” before the pummeling begins. It’s songs like this that only make the case even more airtight that Death Angel should have been in the pantheon of original thrash bands a la the Big Four. More like Big Seven (let’s not forget Overkill and Testament!) in my opinion.
My other runaway favorite has got to be “Caster of Shame”. The band is on fire, and Mark just spits venom and screams like there’s no tomorrow! This one also got played over and over. And as I’m sitting wondering what they possibly have left in them, along comes “Detonate”, a song that looks like it’s gonna go one way, then does a complete 180. Mark’s vocal delivery is also verrrry different on the verses which makes it another album highlight for sure.
“Empty” has just a hint of punk to it, and there are some neat effects on the riffs that keep it interesting. And while I liked it, I didn’t love it. Closing things out is “Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust”, the longest song (6:38) and definitely the most progressive on the album. It chugs along with a steady dose of dual harmonies, time changes, and gang vocals, all to great effect. This is truly a song that embodies Death Angel’s “Pack of Wolves” mentality demonstrated on the cover art for both this record and Relentless Retribution, and you can feel like they’re coming to get you, so you better run.
The Dream Calls For Blood is a killer record from a killer band that many left for dead in the early 2000’s. But those people couldn’t be more wrong. Building on the foundations of the last two albums, Death Angel is not only alive and well, but poised to melt faces and beat the shit out of the competition in 2014.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Dream Calls For Blood”, “Detonate”, “Caster Of Shame”, “Execution/Don’t Save Me”, “Left For Dead”