During a recent interview I asked DEATH ANGEL’S Mark Osegueda, singer and thrash metal icon, what he was listening to these days. He quickly responded with SUICIDAL ANGELS, a thrash band from Greece that he had toured with and gotten to know over the years that also happened to have a new record coming out on January 14 via NoiseArt records. He suggested I check them out and was sure I would dig them. Well he was right for the most part. This band has all the key elements of good thrash: riffs for days, a tight rhythm section, and anything but delicate subject matter. Plus, drummer Orpheas Tzortzopoulos moves from blast beats to mid-tempo grooves seemingly at the drop of a hat, which certainly keeps things interesting.
As far as the songs go on their new album Divide and Conquer, this is pretty standard fare. All the usual suspects are there, from corrupt government, to society caving in on itself, etc. Singer/guitarist Nick Melissourgos screams and barks with authority and conviction on every song, and the guitar work itself sounds like a cross between SLAYER and early EXODUS. This is especially true on lengthy album closer “White Wizard”, which during its nearly nine minutes even has a pinch of HAVOK in there. Not bad…not bad at all. “Marching Over Blood” is an all-out blitz, as an opening track should be, so right away they had my attention, particularly on the solos. It sounds like Chris Tsitsis and Melissourgos are trading off here, and if so, it’s pretty seamless. “Seed of Evil” clocks in at almost seven minutes and features a rather brusque prelude that will have you wonder where on earth it’s headed before you realize we’ve been here before on countless other thrash releases.
Title track “Divide and Conquer” is heavy on the speed-picking while first single and video “In the Grave” takes its time setting the tone, allowing the drums and Aggelos Lelikakis’ bass to be in charge. I liked this one right from the start. I was also a fan of “Terror Is My Scream” the fury of which is unrivaled on this disc. Definitely one for the REPEAT button, no question. Another highly-charged attack takes place for all 4:28 of “Pit of Snakes”, the chorus all venom and anger. Blast beats rear their ugly head all throughout “Lost Dignity” which quite frankly, gets a bit monotonous after a minute or so.
Overall Divide and Conquer is a pretty good record. Out of ten songs I really got into seven of them. At the same time I didn’t hate any at all, so that’s a plus. What SUICIDAL ANGELS sometimes lack in originality they more than make up for with sheer aggression and gut-punching intensity. I don’t know if this one will be in heavy rotation in my household but it’s definitely worth more than one listen. Check it out for yourselves, see what you think.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “In the Grave”, “Terror Is My Scream”, “Marching Over Blood”, “Divide and Conquer”, “White Wizard”