The Evil Divide
Nuclear Blast Records/Universal Music Australia
Reviewed By Chris Gibbs
San Francisco, Bay Area thrash metal veterans Death Angel have been on one hell of an upward trajectory in the last eight years. Their hit and miss reunion album The Art of Dying arrived now 12 years ago after a 14 year break up, but its long awaited and excellent successor, Killing Season, came viciously ball tearing out of the gates in 2008 and the momentum has snowballed from there. Continuing with 2010’s Relentless Retribution, we were introduced to a new, thrash-infused rhythm section.
2013 birthed the face ripping The Dream Calls for Blood followed by endless touring cycles. This was recently rounded out with the release of their must watch DVD, A Thrashumentary, complete with a rip snorting 10 track live album, The Bay Calls for Blood that sounds fantastic. I don’t see Death Angel slowing down anytime soon with the impending release of their eighth record, The Evil Divide.
Now, I am not a Death Angel veteran, having only got into the band from Relentless Retribution but I have familiarised myself a plenty with their entire back catalogue in recent years. I can honestly say however, that this latest offering has received so much air time in my household and at such high volumes; I’m surprised the cops haven’t been summoned to silence me. “The Moth” wastes no time in cementing the fact that Death Angel now has their second hat-trick of longer players completed by a rock solid line-up.
Vocalist Mark Osegueda has lost nothing with age and stands tall as one of the most exceptional vocalists in thrash metal history. Lead guitarist and chief songwriter Rob Cavestany continues to craft glorious thrash riffs, hooks, melodies and leads, backed up by guitarist Ted Aguilar. The now not so new boys in bassist Damien Sisson, beast of a drummer Will Carroll and the continued relationship with producer Jason Suecof warrants the Death Angel seal of thrash approval.
The Evil Divide is definitely not as heavy as The Dream Calls for Blood and is a more melodic affair. Take a track like “Lost” for example, which for some reason I always skip to first when I play this record almost every time, before starting from “The Moth”. It is a simpler, almost heavy rock song filled with hooks and grooves and a fantastic sing-a-long chorus we can all relate to, but it fits ever so snug between the intense thrasher “Cause for Alarm” and the vicious chugging of “Father of Lies”.
From here, the speed keeps coming thick and fast with “Hell to Pay” and the middle finger raising “Breakaway”. Ten excellent thrash anthems across 45 minutes. Bottom line, The Evil Divide is an excellent record. The consistent output and energy this band continue to capture in their three year album cycles is something to envy and a few of their peers still pumping out a record here and there could learn a thing or two, or even an albums worth from the band you could still consider as the young underdogs of thrash.