When thrash titans Death Angel burst onto the scene in 1982, they were one of the youngest bands ever to emerge from the 80’s Bay Area thrash movement, with members ranging in age from 14 to just years old. The band released their first demo, Heavy Metal Insanity in 1983. Admittedly, the sound of that demo was more akin to the NWOBHM than it was of the thrash pioneers who released the groundbreaking debut “The Ultra Violence.”
After years of playing gigs and honing their sound, the band released their second demo Kill as One. They managed to get a copy into the hands of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett which lead to them signing with Enigma Records and releasing their seminal masterpiece, The Ultra Violence in ‘87. The band followed it up with Frolic Through the Park in ’88 and Act III in ’89, their first and only album for Geffen Records.
After a bus accident in late ’90, that left then drummer Andy Galeon in critical condition and needing over a year to fully recover. Geffen pressured the rest of the band to hire a replacement and press on. When the band declined, they were subsequently dropped from the label.
The band took 14 years off to explore various side projects, before regrouping in 2004 to release, The Art Of Dying, for Nuclear Blast Records. The band released two more albums before launching their 2011 North American Retribution Tour, which was the band’s first tour since the “Act III” tour of 1990.
2013 sees the thrash legends leading the charge of the modern thrash movement with a renewed sense of purpose.
Death Angel are one of the few bands living up to their thrash legacy by exceeding fan expectations and pushing the very boundaries of the genre they helped to create. Their latest offering for Nuclear Blast, The Dream Calls for Blood, is a prime example and picks up where Killing Season and Relentless Retribution left off while expanding on their classic sound.
The Dream Calls for Blood finds the band playing to their strengths and is quite honestly the best thing they’ve done since The Ultra Violence. It is a phenomenal auditory barrage that epitomizes everything a great thrash album should be. It will literally leave you with goose bumps and the little hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.
The bellicose riffing in tracks like “Left For Dead,” “Succubus” and “Empty” will thrill fans of old school thrash giants Anthrax, Exodus or Testament and showcases some stunning lead guitar solos in the vein of vintage Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or even the crackling intensity of Dragonforce. The opening scream of “Son of the Morning,” will instantly bring to mind “Angel of Death” by Slayer and would make Tom Araya proud.
Songs like “Fallen,” “Detonate” and title track, “The Dream Calls for Blood,” has the band taking cues from thrash veterans like Annihilator, Vio-lence and Nuclear Assault. “Execution/Don’t Save Me,” starts with an acoustic guitar riff similar to “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera before it lays down the gauntlet and morphs into something resembling Slayer’s “Postmortem.”
“Caster Of Shame,” meshes Slayer and Trivium with dramatic results while closer “Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust,” is reminiscent of “Doomsday For The Deceiver,” by Flotsam And Jetsam. It further drives the point home, that they will be disturbing the peace for many years to come.
Here’s the bottom line- The Dream Calls for Blood is a pantheon of thrash mastery that is methodically and flawlessly executed. It’s nice to know that after almost 30 years in the business these thrash icons still have plenty of fuel left in the tank.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10