Written by Alex Stojanovic
I Came For Blood
Alive & Screaming
Ghost Of Me
Of Rats & Men
The Day I Walked Away (Bonus track)
Release Date: May 31, 2019
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Mark Osegueda - Vocals / Rob Cavestany - Lead guitar & backing vocals / Ted Aguilar - Rhythm guitars
Will Carroll - Drums / Damien Sisson - Bass
Here we are in 2019, and Death Angel are still as hungry and as lethal as ever! This year, they have released their ninth studio album called Humanicide, and it's the band's sixth album since their 2001 reformation. Humanicide also marks the band's fourth album that was produced by Jason Suecof, and it also marks the first time that the band made more than three albums with the same lineup. That's just proof that the current lineup is really solid.
Now, I have to be honest. When I first heard this album, it wasn't grabbing me right away like Relentless Retribution, The Dream Calls For Blood and The Evil Divide did. My first thought when that happened was "Uh-oh". The main element that seems to be lacking is creativity, and because of that, the songwriting took a step down. Sure, the speed and the energy is still there, the guitar tones are crisp and deadly, and the vocals are amazing as always, but Humanicide honestly feels a little forced in my opinion.
Only 5 tracks managed to stick out, which are the title track, "Alive & Screaming", "I Came For Blood", "Immortal Behated" and "Revelation Song". The first three tracks I mentioned are all strong songs with rampaging riffs, and a reminder that they are pure thrash. "Immortal Behated" and "Revelation Song" both contain pummeling grooves and strong hooks. "Immortal Behated" also contains a new element that Death Angel didn't have before, which is piano. It's heard at the end of the track, and it gives off a really soothing and almost melancholic vibe, which I really like. "Alive & Screaming" is also the very first Death Angel song that Ted Aguilar has a writing credit for. It's the first Aguilar/Osegueda collaboration, and hopefully this is a sign that Ted will contribute more to the songwriting in the future.
Another saving grace on the album is Mark Osegueda's impeccable and unmistakable vocals. He hasn't lost one bit of his signature thrash snarl, and he's right up in your face. All the other tracks feel like they were put together in a hurry, and not a lot of thought was put into the compositions. Hardly anything jumps out as memorable in the other tracks, and there isn't as much variety in terms of riffs. Although Rob Cavestany is a riff machine and an incredible player, I really feel that most of these riffs are on the weak side. It's a bummer of course, and opinions will obviously differ, but this is what I'm getting out of it.
Like I said, to say that Death Angel didn't come out with an amazing album this year doesn't bring me joy, especially as a fan, but hey, all bands release records that don't quite hit the mark. Do I still love Death Angel? Damn right I do, and they will always be one of my favourites, but Humanicide hardly did anything for me, even after multiple listens. With all that said, Humanicide is without a doubt my least favourite Death Angel album from the current lineup, but that doesn't mean that they can't make another amazing album in the future. I look forward to catching Death Angel live again when they come through town, and if you haven't done that yet, then I highly suggest you do, because you will not be disappointed.
Highs: "Humanicide", "I Came For Blood", "Immortal Behated", "Alive & Screaming" and "Revelation Song". Mark Osegueda vocals
Lows: Lack of creativity makes this album kind of a let-down.
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