Review Summary: Death Angel come up trumps with a smashing display of nothing but raw, aggressive thrash metal with some of the best soloing the genre has seen in many years
It is now three years since Bay Area thrash metal act Death Angel last graced the music industry with any fresh material, and in that time the scene has seen numerous solid to great records from many of the more modern bands in the genre. 2013 alone has yielded solid enough releases from acts such as Havok and Evile alongside some spectacular new material from Voivod and a nice enough outing from German titans Sodom. It is due to this influx of great new thrash albums that I am delighted to report that The Dream Calls For Blood from Death Angel is right up there among the best the genre has produced in recent years, and it continues their tradition of putting out cracking album after cracking album.
The band starts things off on a soft but eerie note with the surprisingly mellow introduction to Left For Dead, before diving head first into a barrel of riffs that they never seem to hit the bottom of throughout this release. What Death Angel have provided here is ten tracks of nothing but neck-breaking thrash metal exactly how it should be done. Succubus would be one example of this masterful album firing on all cylinders, providing a variety of mid-paced and lightning fast riffs that makes for an extremely intense listen. It is on this track that the band also shows off exactly what makes this album so good-the sheer variety in each of the tracks. Execution makes great use of an acoustic intro to spice things up a little, whilst Empty opens with a nice hardcore-inspired riff and awesome drum roll before breaking out a surprisingly catchy section of vocal work in the chorus. This is a band that has everything, and can play at numerous speeds without losing the aggression and fury that drives the album all the way through.
One thing that completely blew me away upon listening to Death Angel's latest work is the sheer quality of the guitar solos. Whilst for the most part the band sticks to the genre tradition of using nothing but shredding solos, they are written so much better than many of their contempories. Guitar solos are plentiful across this record, with some tracks containing more than one, and they are always a pleasure to hear, with the title track making nice use of some slower runs up the fret board around half way through to lead into a crushing mid-paced section that feels like the build up to the opening of the gates of Hell. The drumming on this album is also something that really amazed me, with some great fills scattered throughout alongside a controlled display of sheer rage on the drum kit. As these songs dive between the bludgeoning mid-paced sections and the incredible speed-based sonic assaults, the drumming never dips below the "incredible" bracket.
The Dream Calls For Blood is a fantastic thrash metal record that there really is nothing bad that can be said about it. Each of the members of the band provides an incredible listen, with the vocals ripping the flesh straight off of the bones of an unprepared listener and the riffs arguably being among the best in modern thrash. This album easily stands up to their past body of work, perhaps even taking the spot as the second best Death Angel album behind the legendary The Ultra-Violence, and is yet another in a line of good 2013 thrash releases.