Monday, 20 May 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Death Angel, "Humancide"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 31/05/2019
Label: Nuclear Blast

It's a solid and classy record, strong from front to back and with ten tracks of high quality material.

“Humanicide” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Humanicide
2. Divine Defector
3. Aggressor
4. I Came For Blood
5. Immortal Behated
6. Alive and Screaming
7. The Pack
8. Ghost of Me
9. Revelation Song
10. Of Rats and Men
11. The Day I Walked Away (Bonus Track)

The Review:

The Bay Area thrashers are back with this Jason Suecof produced rager. “Humanicide” follows in the tradition of the last two DA albums, but is perhaps a little closer in style to “Relentless Retribution” than “The Evil Divide” or “The Dream Calls For Blood”.

Certainly, the title track kicks off the record with thrash in full effect and “Divine Defector”, keeps up this high gear approach. In fact, “Aggressor” is still fairly full on with “I Came For Blood” being a Motorhead styled blast of punk/thrash.

However, “Immortal Behated” is closer to some of the band's less fleet of foot work and the rather plodding play time does it no favours. Death Angel would be excused for front loading their albums. They've been around since the second wave of thrash and even with Osegueda and Cavestany being the last original men standing, a drop in energy would be acceptable. Pleasingly, “Alive and Screaming” is another raging foot stomper with Osegueda proving just why he is one of the best vocalists in thrash- his range seemingly limitless.

The back stretch of the record is just as strong; “The Pack “is a real headbanger and the sound is heavy with a pleasing low end throughout. The reason for the earlier comparison to “Relentless Retribution” comes from the tempos; “Humanicide” is a heavy record, no doubt, but it is not that speedy.

Thrash is usually thought of as being up-tempo, reaching beyond Motorhead into more extreme territory. While it's true that “Ghost of Me” is no slouch, it is also accurate to point out that much of the track is at mid tempo- indeed a good deal of the album is. That is not to say that energy is lacking, just to say that this is not a thrash fest in the same way that the previous two records were. This heavy mid-tempo trend continues through “Revelation Song”, but fortunately Death Angel know how to craft fine songs so the adrenaline factor is not the be all and end all here.

The melodies in “Of Rats And Men” is as much a feature as the speed and therein lies the niche of Death Angel. The band will never match Slayer for speed, Exodus for brutality, Megadeth for technical display or Testament for a fusion of extreme styles in the melting pot, but they WILL deliver quality songs with melodies and hooks that are downright catchy. There is no doubt that the band has been consistent over the years (a mid career break did them a lot of good and must have extended their longevity) and it is a joy to hear them still sounding so vital and energised.

Overall then, this is yet another strong entry into the bands discography. It's a solid and classy record, strong from front to back and with ten tracks of high quality material. A little more speed next time around and I would be even happier!

“Humancide” is available HERE

Band info: facebook