It’s been almost three years since The Dream Calls For Blood, the last thrash-terpiece from Bay Area band DEATH ANGEL. And much like Relentless Retribution before it, the album took no prisoners and delivered an ass-whoopin’ from start to finish. And now we have just-released The Evil Divide, available now on Nuclear Blast Records to play with. Before I popped it in I wondered aloud if lightning would indeed strike three times in a row. I needn’t have bothered because it sure as shit did and I have the scorch marks to prove it. This lineup seems to have an insatiable hunger for the blood of its listeners, it’s the only explanation for something this powerful and aggressive.
Right from the start “The Moth” and “Cause For Alarm” barrel through the wall with riff after riff from guitarists Ted Aguilar and Rob Cavestany. Drummer Will Carroll and bassist Damien Sisson are very upfront in the mix, and you can hear every pounding note and nuance. “Lost” is a bit different, but it’s a good different, and one of my favorites on the record. There’s an ANTHRAX feel to it, and it’s slightly more melodic than the other songs. On this one Mark Osegueda delivers his absolute best vocal; he’s terrific on the whole thing, but I just love his tone and delivery here.
Then “Father of Lies” comes in with ripping guitar parts all young thrash bands should be studying up on so they can get better. This duo puts together some of the best riffs in the game, make no mistake about it. “Hell to Pay” buries the needle as we go hurtling into the unknown, airbags be damned, while “It Can’t Be This” opts for a more stalking, deliberate tempo. Not coincidentally my other standout on a record full of ‘em. Things take a darker turn for the start of “Hatred United, United Hate” before it turns into all out war, and “Breakaway” keeps the pressure on, not letting up for a moment, Carroll’s machine-gun drumming fueling the riff machine’s fire.
He and Sisson are also fully locked in for “The Electric Cell”, anchoring some off-times and tempo changes before settling into a groove that the rest of the group latches onto. One thing you can always count on from this band is an excellent album closer, and “Let the Pieces Fall” is no exception. Osegueda has his fangs bared, ready to rip meat from bone, and the boys behind him will hold you down until one by one they all get a taste.
Producer Jason Suecof, at the helm for a third consecutive album, really knows how to make this group sound their best, and they as a unit have definitely hit their stride over these three records. All told The Evil Divide is another winning effort from the boys in DEATH ANGEL. Not a bad song to be found, and the album flow is just right. If you find yourself spinning this one over and over, you’re not alone there. I’ve been doing just that while I not-so-patiently wait for them to announce a Philly tour stop, either late this year, or in early 2017. Pick up your copy immediately, if not sooner!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “It Can’t Be This”, “Lost”, “Let the Pieces Fall”, “Cause For Alarm”, “Father of Lies”