Death Angel Album Review – ‘The Evil Divide’

 

It is certainly no exaggeration to name Death Angel among the most important and influential thrash metal bands outside the Big 4. Especially their debut album ‘The Ultra-Violence’ is an absolute genre-defining classic. More than 30 years into their career Death Angel now released their eighth studio album ‘The Evil Divide’. The album is the third in a row with the same line-up and even with the same producer (Jason Suecof). The current line-up is the most stable since the band ended their 14-year hiatus in 2004. Consequently, ‘The Evil Divide’ sounds more cohesive than any other Death Angel album before.

The ten tracks on ‘The Evil Divide’ have everything old-school thrash metal and Death Angel fans could wish for. There are the galloping thrash metal riffs like in the opener ‘The Moth’ or  ‘Father Of Lies’ to name just a couple of examples. There is also the almost punk-like attitude in tracks like ‘Cause for Alarm’. And there are the solos at lightning speed. That is a lot of four-to-the floor stuff and that is what you would expect from an old-school thrash metal album. You add in Mark Osegueda’s aggressive vocals and one or the other gang shouting and you have a mix that any metalhead should like.

However, ‘The Evil Divide’ is much more than the usual thrash metal orgy. Rob Cavestany’s songwriting has developed into a much more mature form of art over the three decades his career spans. Death Angel – and especially Rob – were never afraid to include musical influences other than metal. Whereas this approach was rather random at the beginning of their career and therefore, sounded as if the band was trying too hard, these elements are now incorporated naturally. Tracks like ‘Lost’ and ‘It Can’t Be This’ deviate from the strict thrash metal recipe without venturing too far away from its roots. That should keep die-hard old-school thrash metal fans happy while adding lots of other colours to the Death Angel sound. The result is an album that is more recognisable and more varied than its two predecessors ‘Relentless Retribution’ and ‘The Dream Calls For Blood’. On ‘The Evil Divide’ Death Angel also show their more melodic, slower and groovier side.

‘The Evil Divide’ is an excellent album that caters for long-time Death Angel fans as well as the occasional listener. The ten tracks are proof that Death Angel currently feel very comfortable with their line-up but still have the hunger to write and record an album that performs at the peak of the genre in 2016. Death Angel is still a force to be reckoned with.

8.5/10