Death Angel – Humanicide (Nuclear Blast Records)

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Another band that seems to have found its feet in recent years. Death Angel, reinvigorated perhaps from the resurgence of the thrash metal scene recently, are back with Humanicide. Ten new tracks which I hope can live up to the return to form that was 2016’s The Evil Divide.

The title track which opens this new opus reassures me that it might indeed be another feather in the Death Angel cap as singer Mark Osegueda screams bloody gore if you will, before Rob Cavestany launches into a frenzied bout of riffing that is good as anything he has produced before. Lumbering slightly onto death metal terrain, Divine Defector reminds us of Death Angel’s broad influence and appeal. Squealing guitars, barrelling drums this track has the lot. There’s a dud track in Aggressor, which although it contains an excellent old school thrash chorus, it can’t be forgiven for its vocals in the verses delivered almost in a rap style. Fortunately I Came For Blood puts us back on course with its blistering Judas Priest style. Immortal Behated is a mid tempo head nodder that allows Osegueda room to show off his awesome vocal ability. Crossover influences come into play with The Pack, a track that could nestle quite easily on a Hatebreed album and is easily my favourite track so far and wanting to go out on a high, the band leave us with Of Rats And Men a song that smashes all those influences into one and is very much “a Death Angel song”

It’s really heart-warming to see a band that started way back in 1982 and influenced so many other bands, still plying their trade in 2019 and producing music that still has as much relevance and bite as it ever did. There’s plenty of life left in these old thrashers.… Chris Andrews

Damn, I have truly been living under a (punk) rock for the last 15 years! I remember Bay Area thrashers Death Angel from the late 80’s and their legendary albums The Ultra-Violence, Frolic Through The Park and Act III, not to mention catching them live in London on the Frolic… tour in 1988 – ahh happy days. But unbeknown to me, they have also been pumping out albums with frightening regularity since 2004 and Humanicide is just the latest in that long line.

But this is no conveyor-belt act churning out crowd-pleasers for the sake of it, and Humanicide is a damn fine album. I’m sure it will have been tempting for them at various points over the years to move either towards more of a death metal sound or to head into the mainstream, but hell no, this is bang your head thrash metal and damn proud of it. They have stayed true to the classic Bay Area sound, with the trademark razor-sharp guitar riffing intact as Death Angel pummel their way through this new album.

The hints of classic Exodus with twin guitars and barked backing vocals on Ghost Of Me, are great – it’s like a trip down memory lane while discovering new unexplored tunes. That said, this is a vibrant album that is totally relevant in 2019, and I’m gonna be loving this right through the summer. Tom Chapman

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