Review Summary: For the first time in the band's career, Death Angel here seems to be growing weary and tiresome, though fans of thrash metal will undoubtedly like Killing Season for what it is.
Like most bands within the same sub-genre, Death Angel took their time in crafting arguably the ideal comeback album instead of rushing themselves straight into the new millennium with a half-hearted set of thrash metal tunes. Thus The Art of dying
proved to be every bit as consistent and energetic as the band's first three albums. However, the main problem with many veteran thrash metal acts today now seems to be how they go about producing an album which is supposed to be better than the predecessor, but for the most part unfortunately fails to meet that particular expectation as well as the devoted fans' needs. All that said, Killing Season
sadly suffers from this problem, though it's not particularly terrible either.
, released four years after The Art of dying
, falls into the common trap of being entirely unbalanced and mostly inconsistent. The album's first half is excellent, resembling the band's better days back in the 80s, whereas the majority of the second half simply sees Death Angel sounding like a doggedly tired group of musicians who, however hard they try, just can't get beyond songs of above average quality. The opening two songs, “Lord of Hate” and “Sonic Beatdown”, are arguably some of the best Death Angel songs within the last decade or so. Guitars are simply well executed, the drums and bass rhythms are naturally powerful in tone and Osegueda's well-recognized vocal delivery never fails to impress. So, because these first two songs are simply brilliant, it gives many listeners the impression that the rest of the album will continue offering excellent songs of this quality.
Of course, it does up until the completely unnecessary “Buried alive”, which isn't even a song, merely a “track”, presumably put on the album to stretch out the total running time. It simply consists of a news report describing a man being buried alive, his feelings of terror and the overall debate as to whether being buried alive is the worst form of torture. Well, that's perfect enough for a Misfits or Marilyn Manson album, but when you know that one would expect more songs similar to "Sonic Beatdown", they would be disinterested in “Buried alive” without a doubt. The next song, “Soulless” continues to disappoint, though because of well-executed solos and powerful drumming, is somewhat more interesting and as a result definitely suits the needs of the band's most devoted fans. However, the problem now is how tired Osegueda sounds in his vocal delivery. In the album's first four songs, he sounded very confident both in himself and his vocal talent, whereas with “Soulless”, together with “God vs God” and underwhelming closer “Resurrection Machine”, listeners may begin to believe he is simply showing his age.
There is one track in the second half which gives the band a redeeming quality-that being the very vicious and maniacal “Steal the crown”-yet it's simply too little and too late to make Killing Season
an album simply more than one that is above average at best. Of course, fans of the most basic, down-to-earth forms of thrash metal will find nothing wrong here, but anyone else looking for music every bit as good as Death Angel's first three albums, or even The Art of dying
, will be sorely disappointed. Thankfully, the band came back recently with the superb The Dream calls for Blood
, so if anyone's really intrigued to know what Death Angel's best recent effort is, you would be well-advised to check out their latest.