Death Angel
The Evil Divide


4.5
superb

Review

by ChaoticVortex USER (53 Reviews)
June 3rd, 2016 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A merciless sonic display of fully realized potential, style and seized momentum, Death Angel’s eighth album sets a remarkable precedent on how to deliver thrash metal in the 2010’s.

As big of a fan I always was towards the Bay Area thrash metal scene, for a long time Death Angel was one of those bands that I felt was a bit overhyped compared to their equally talented yet lesser known peers. Granted “The Ultra-Violence” is a record as good as anything that came out of the golden age of the genre but their subsequent releases have felt a bit short on what I expected from them (hell I don’t consider “Act III” a classic like many people). This opinion slowly started to change for the better around their first post 2000’s releases, but it’s the last two records that managed to win me over.

Doubling down on characteristically energetic, intense and speedy thrash roots, while maintaining the melodic, infectiously catchy vibe and mellow harmonies often displayed in their songwriting, “Relentless Retribution” and “The Dream Calls for Blood” were both hugely enjoyable displays for well-written and executed thrash. On these records the band showed complete confidence and maturity in their songwriting, thus finding a perfect balance between aggression and well-timed melodies. And just when I thought they can’t top themselves, “The Evil Divide” arrived, marking not only one of the band’s highest achievements, but also a clear sign, that even these veterans have some tricks in their sleeves.

This balanced duality between the pummeling Bay Area thrash and the more melodic vibes of classic heavy metal instantly showcased in the opener “The Moth” where the aggressive Slayer-like riffing during the verses are contrasted with the Trivium-like choruses. Or “Father of Lies” the crunching mid-paced headbanging are intersected with unexpected twin guitar sections, not to mention even the solo is two parted. A quieter, melodic relaxed phase with only cymbals, clean guitars and Damien Sisson’s humming bass to support the lead…before it explodes into the chaotic yet controlled shredding we usually expect from a thrash song.

But that’s not to say that there isn’t some more formulaic yet enjoyable wrecking on this album. In fact most of the songs are representors of Death Angel’s highly energetic, almost punkish intensity and take-no-prisoners delivery, with cuts like “Cause of Alarm” or “Hell to Pay” which not only stomp the listener into the ground with their fast, blood-boiling riffworks, but also don’t overstay their welcome with a healthy three minute runtime. The longer affairs like “Breakaway” or “The Electric Cell” introduce not just a dynamic jumping between the faster and slower sections but also a heightened sense of musical technicality which always appreciated (at least for me).

The tight and precise rhythm section (including longtime drumming beast Will Carrol) and Jason Suecof's raw and palpable production give the album a major boost but the key players in this game are Rob Cavestany and Mark Osegueda. A founding member and the major driving force of the group, Cavestany once again displays his ferocious and creative musicianship with technically proficient, sometime raw, other times harmonic guitar work which always gave the band a clear sense of identity. And once again whether it’s just solitary outbursts or trade-off duels with fellow axeman Ted Aguliar the lead guitar work is nothing short of greatness.

But Death Angel would not be recognizable without the trademark voice of Mark Osegueda. I don’t know how he does it, but time haven’t done a shred of damage in his voice, his snarly word-spitting, the screams, his clean singing are just as fierce, impressive and instantly recognizable as it was back in 1987. His vocal fury drives the music like a well-oiled engine but it’s also the heart and soul of what I consider my favorite song on the record: “Lost”. An electric guitar driven ballad, this song could surprise most with its restrained and hard rock like approach pushing thrash metal to its radio-friendly and accessible limits. But not only it doesn’t becomes cheesy, it’s a powerful and heartfelt song, mostly due to Osegueda's passionate and emotional vocal performance which certainly elevates the song into the upper realms.

It is often said, that the older a band becomes, the harder it becomes for them to remain musically relevant or consistent, especially if we’re talking about a more saturated and limited genre like thrash metal. However Death Angel proved once again that just like Overkill, Testament or Exodus, there are good reasons why they managed to stay in the game for so long. Their top notch, sometimes even daring musicianship, and seemingly undrainable amounts of energy and passion gives them the fuel, to deliver vibrant and fist-bumping sonic destruction even after 30+ years. And if anything this is the thing, most starting young bands should take notes from. These dogs might be old, but they are very reliable in biting throats.



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user ratings (205)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ChaoticVortex
June 3rd 2016


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My rating might be a bit high, but goddamn this album kick ass. If you want something less traditional, complex and unusual in thrash listen to Vektor, but in terms of the classic old-school approach this as good as it gets.



As always any constructive criticism is welcome.

tempest--
June 3rd 2016


20632 Comments


nice, haven't heard this one yet, but I've always had a place in my heart for these guys, seemingly the opposite to you hahah

manosg
Staff Reviewer
June 3rd 2016


11546 Comments


It was about time someone reviewed this one and I'm glad it's you. Have a pos.

I've only jammed this once and found it pretty good.

Digging: Praying Mantis - Forever in Time

TheNotrap
June 3rd 2016


9837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"It is often said, that the older a band becomes, the harder it becomes for them to remain musically relevant or consistent, especially if we’re talking about a more saturated and limited genre like thrash metal."

Well said.





Sounds promising, need to check asap. Have a pos.









Digging: Venom Prison - Samsara

vermillionZ
June 3rd 2016


198 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love the record, great review.

LaughingSkull
June 3rd 2016


599 Comments


didn't even know they had a new album. gunna check it out!

Sabrutin
June 3rd 2016


5966 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Beat me to it, pos. As some already pointed out, this is basically the union of The Dream Calls for Blood with The Art of Dying. It has the heaviness of the former and the punk attitude and variety of the latter. The proggy "Father of Lies" is definitely some of the most 'Death Angel-ish' things they recorded in a long while. That and "Lost" are my faves at the moment.



Right now I'm sitting at a 3.5, I'm not fully into the album's last part. I haven't bought a physical copy yet though, so maybe the bonus track "Wasteland" will help me raise the rating.

bloc
June 3rd 2016


54682 Comments


Eh, I've only really liked The Ultra-Violence from these guys. I could never get into anything else from them.

Digging: Way Out West - Intensify

Sabrutin
June 3rd 2016


5966 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Imo the only weak album they have is Relentless Retribution, though it has some killer cuts.

Ebola
June 3rd 2016


3501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great review, completely agree. Their best since their debut.

ChaoticVortex
June 3rd 2016


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you all for the positive feedback, really appreciate it.

thesaddestday
June 3rd 2016


29 Comments


Awesome review, pos'd! Always getting Dark Angel and Death Angel confused haha

Anthracks
June 3rd 2016


6271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The riffs on this are pretty average.

Sabrutin
June 4th 2016


5966 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Their best since their debut."



Act III and most of Frolic destroy this one but hey it's Death Angel, thrash on. \m/

ChaoticVortex
June 4th 2016


752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

IMO literally any other Death Angel record is better than Frolic. Even Killing Season.

tempest--
June 4th 2016


20632 Comments


Damn, really? It has some great tracks, Bored, 3rd Floor, Why You Do This are some of my favourite Death Angel tunes

Sabrutin
June 4th 2016


5966 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Damn disagree so hard, Frolic has such a mixture of young carelessness and bold writing that it's irresistible to me. They'll never write something as ballsy as Confused again.



EDIT: hell yeah 3rd Floor, some days it's my favorite opener of theirs

Piripichotes
June 4th 2016


486 Comments


This is neat, it kinda sucks that it came out right after Vektor, IMO it has taken the spotlight for this year's metal record...

vermillionZ
June 4th 2016


198 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Imo frolic for is very underrated, certainly not as good as Act 3 or The Ultra Violence, but still awesome.

Man I love 3rd floor, road mutants, confused and guilty of innocence.

RunOfTheMill
June 4th 2016


3943 Comments


Pretty good review, could use some proof reading. Otherwise I'm a little surprised at the hype this is getting, the singles they released were pretty good but nothing special. Will have to chwck it for myself I suppose



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