Written by Alex Stojanovic
Cause For Alarm
Father Of Lies
Hell To Pay
It Can't Be This
Hatred United / United Hate
The Electric Cell
Let The Pieces Fall
Release Date: May 27, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Mark Osegueda - Vocals Rob Cavestany - Guitars Ted Aguilar - Guitars Damien Sisson - Bass Will Carroll - Drums
After the departure of original members Andy Galeon and Dennis Pepa in 2008, many were questioning the future of Death Angel, and many naysayers were telling them to hang it up, but the band stuck their fingers in the naysayers' faces with the addition of two new members: Will Carroll and Damien Sisson, and the Relentless Retribution record in 2010, followed by an extensive three year tour behind the record. The band kept the momentum going and brought the ferocity up another notch on The Dream Calls For Blood in 2013, to the point where the record was paralleled with The Ultra-Violence. The new album The Evil Divide ties the two previous records together and finds Death Angel still hungry and continuing to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with. The record is also more concise than the last two records.
"The Moth" and "Cause For Alarm" start off the album with back-to-back rounds of lethal riffs and sonic ferocity, setting the bar high for what's to come. The band's inventiveness in making songs brutal with pummelling grooves and warp-speed thrash riffs while incorporating melody into the songs has not worn off one iota. When it comes to the vocals, Mark Osegueda doesn't let out any long piercing screams like he did on the previous records, but he's simply on fire, showing he's lost nothing off his voice and singng some of his best vocal melodies ever over top of Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar's guitar majesty and sounding like he's in his prime. With "Lost" being the catchiest, most melodic song on the album with the slightly slower groove and Osegueda's smooth vocals, it has potential to receive some radio play. Even though the track might get some fans scratching their heads a bit, it's a nice change of pace rather than just speed and intensity all the way through and it's one of the record's strongest tracks.
However, the savagery returns on "Father Of Lies", one of my favourites on the album, with destructive rhythms steamrolling through the song until the middle where it calms down as the solo begins and ramps back up into a thrash frenzy. I happen to love songs that contain fast riffs, but they're groovy at the same time. Guest appearances on Death Angel records began on Relentless Retribution with producer Jason Suecof playing a guest solo on the track "Truce" and Rodrigo y Gabriela playing the outro of "Claws In So Deep". Suecof also plays a guest solo on The Dream Calls For Blood. On this new album, the band bring in Andreas Kisser from Sepultura to lay down a solo on "Hatred United / United Hate". I can see Death Angel continuing to have guest appearances on the albums to come. "Let The Pieces Fall" closes out the album in true Death Angel fashion with punishing grooves, hooky riffs and aggressive vocals from Osegueda.
Aside from Osegueda, Cavestany and Aguilar's brilliance in their respective departments, Damien Sisson and Will Carroll make one of the most unique rhythm sections in thrash that gets better on each new album. Their intricate chops compliment the crushing riffs extremely well. Prime examples of that on this album would be on "The Electric Cell", "Father Of Lies" and "Hell To Pay". They definitely deserve a lot more accolades. With all respect to Andy Galeon, Dennis and Gus Pepa, the current lineup is in my opinion Death Angel's best lineup and the last three records (including the new album) all have immaculacy that make them some of the band's best albums. The Evil Divide is another visceral slab of thrash that is sure to give your ears a real good spanking just like any other Death Angel record. Prepare to NOT be disappointed. I can't wait to hear these songs live.
Highs: Everyone shines brightly in their respective departments. Standout tracks include "The Moth", "Lost", "Father Of Lies", "The Electric Cell" and "Let The Pieces Fall".
Lows: No complaints
Final Rating: 9.5/10