DEATH ANGEL has been on quite a roll for nearly a decade now since 2010’s Relentless Retribution, which was one monster of an album. The same can be said for 2013’s The Dream Calls For Blood, and 2016’s The Evil Divide. I love all three of those records, so I was very excited to get my hands on new album Humanicide (out now, Nuclear Blast Records). I have had it for awhile now, and it’s been getting massive amounts of airplay here at A&GS HQ. This also marks the fourth consecutive disc with the line-up of Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar on guitars, Mark Osegueda singing, and the rhythm section of Will Carroll (drums) and Damien Sisson (bass). Jason Suecof is once again producing and as usual his work is pure gold.
Title track “Humanicide” fires up the chainsaw and the riff machine is on full throttle. Sometimes there’s nothing that beats killer Thrash Metal riffs, especially during a work day. But these guys aren’t all speed all the time, and next tune “Divine Defector” mixes the groove up nicely. There is also some nifty guitar soloing happening over the intro. “Aggressor” hits us with a couple of tempo changes, taking off at a gallop on the hooks, while new single and my favorite track “I Came For Blood” is pure, unbridled adrenaline, Osegueda spitting venom as Aguilar and Cavestany light it up on their fretboards. And let’s talk about the guitar solos, eh?!? Fucking sweet!! Nice to hear Carroll and Sisson high up in the mix too, as they should be.
“Immortal Behated” starts off quietly, with some clean guitar intros and once again we switch gears tempo-wise, dropping down just a tad slower than a mid-tempo feel. A nice, big fat chorus anchors the song as well. And for the last minute and change, we are treated to an outro with a piano and light acoustic guitar playing behind. It’s unexpected, yet fits seamlessly. “Alive and Screaming” and “The Pack” not only serve as reminders as to what makes this band so great and vastly underrated, but the latter is an anthem in tribute to DEATH ANGEL fans and metal fans everywhere. “The song has a very anthemic feel, it’s a fist pumping-festival type of vibe” Cavestany explains. I’d expect this one in the live set moving forward, folks.
We are treated to more excellent solos during “Ghost of Me”, and Sisson also gets a few moments in the sun. Another instant favorite for yours truly was/is “Revelation Song”, a track where Carroll is locked in and fully in command, guiding the ship without running aground. Official closer “Of Rats and Men” is everything you could want and more from the band, everyone doing their thing amped up to 11, and the trading off/dual harmonized solos just accentuate that fact. Bonus track “The Day I Walked Away” is very different from the other songs in a few places, but it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb or anything, and it’s actually pretty good.
All told the boys in DEATH ANGEL have done it again. For the fourth consecutive record they have delivered an absolute winner that hits hard where it needs to. But this one shows more evolution in their sound. Without a doubt Humanicide belongs right up there with the past three albums as high watermarks in this band’s storied and battle-tested catalog. You would be hard pressed to find a bad track, and I guarantee most, if not all of you will have this thing on REPEAT once you hear it, as I did and still do. Now, all we need is a tour where these guys can do a full 14-song, hour and thirty minute headliner across the country. You wanna make America great again? Then let’s get a DEATH ANGEL headlining run together, whaddaya say??
STANDOUT TRACKS: “I Came For Blood”, “Revelation Song”, “Ghost of Me”, “Of Rats and Men”, “Divine Defector”