Review Summary: "Humanicide" is a thrash record sent straight from the 1980’s, blended with pristine modern-day production. It is blessed with an intensity that bands far younger than themselves fail to even come close to matching.
"Humanicide" is a thrash record sent straight from the 1980’s, blended with pristine modern-day production. It is blessed with an intensity that bands far younger than themselves fail to even come close to matching. Punishing heavy riffs are supported by crushing beats and incredible chaotic soloing. The vocals of singer Mark Osegueda are as powerful as anything else on this record, which is seriously impressive as this is a record that has huge presence.
This presence is most strongly felt on the two opening tracks “Humanicide” & “Divine Defector”. “Humanicide” begins with an epic melody before being launched into a brutal display of riffs and violent percussion. “Divine Defector” is a full-on thrashy crusade on your senses that doesn’t hold back. Tasty riffs are backed up with blastbeats and punchy vocals that display brain-melting intensity.
Tracks such as “The Pack” & “Ghost of Me” also follow a classic thrash metal formula, with pounding drums and lightning fast riffing being served to you in the highest quality. With the former taking the accolade of being my favourite song on the record.
However, this record isn’t just a one-trick pony. There are other interesting ideas at play to keep things fresh and ticking along nicely.
“I Came For Blood” breaks up the thrash monopoly, it is a fun punk song that is just as blistering as any other track on the album. Combining aggressive punk riffs with catchy anthemic choruses that gets you singing along, perfect on the drive home from a mundane day of work.
Both “Immortal Behated” & “Aggressor” sees Death Angel tap into their proggy side to add a layer of sophistication to the primitive nature of this record. “Immortal Behated” is the balls-out risky track of the album in my opinon. It has a quiet and serene intro, with a simple guitar melody layered on top of some melodic soloing before transitioning into heavy and epic riffs. However, Death Angel throw a total curveball here and finish the track off with some piano lines and acoustic guitar melodies. For me personally, it feels a little forced. The parts in isolation sound great, but in the context of the song as a whole it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.
The album closer is another intriguing track worth mentioning. “The Day I Walked Away” is a mid-tempo offering with some atmospheric guitar work that sets a scene in my mind of a post-apocalyptic world, where what remains of humanity is left fighting against their inevitable demise. Cos you know, humanity sucks and is hell bent on self-destruction. And there’s nothing more metal than end-of-the-world, all-hope-is-lost plots. *** yeah.
As with any record, there are a few little things that I’m not a massive fan of. The abrupt nature of the way they close off some songs on this album does gripe me a little. Other than the first two title tracks, there isn’t enough huge, devastating finishes. Or final notes being left to hang out with you for a while that eventually fade away into the ether. Some of the songs feel like they leave you hanging, and no-one likes that. But it really isn’t a major issue, I’m just being particularly picky. I love this album!
Thrash metal for me has gone a little stale and predictable in recent years. However, the release of Humanicide has recaptured my imagination for this once exciting sub-genre. I often found myself grinning in disbelief about how good this record is. It’s jam packed with fantastic riffage and crushing percussion, and a vocal performance from Mark Osegueda that just adds an even greater intensity to the instrumentation. The modern production adds a gloss that you wouldn’t have in Death Angel’s early work, but it doesn’t take away any of its raw power.
It’s a fast, aggressive, exciting record. Some interesting prog elements are thrown in at various points, with some that work and some don’t. But its nice to see a band taking risks even at this point in Death Angel’s career. It would be easy to copy and paste the same thrash song 10 times, and I respect them for not doing so, we don’t need any more of that nonsense.
Phew, after all that excitement, I’m gonna need to lay down.