DEATH ANGEL – Humanicide
May 31, 2019, 19 days ago
(Nuclear Blast Records)
Man, Death Angel just absolutely need to be on the tips of our fingers when we’re engaged in conversations with pals online about The Big Five or other super important, grown-up subjects, because the Bay Area thrash institution is now on album six of a second lease on life, meaning they’ve built up a super consistent and enjoyable thrash metal catalogue. They don’t really put out duds, like most of the Big Four have; like Testament, Death Angel have created a solid body of work that is too busy just absolutely shredding to worry about much else, end result being, wow, total thrash majesty.
And that continues on this album: the title track opens up the album raging hard, fast, and sincere, the band in possession of songwriting smarts that Megadeth wish they had and a genuine sense of metal that Metallica songs haven’t known for years. “Aggressor” uses acoustic guitars in an aggressive way, which is really an integral part of Death Angel’s unique sound. “I Came For Blood” is a basic breakneck Lemmy-approved thrasher, while “Immortal Behated” is a six-minute epic that shows Death Angel’s sense of controlled drama, even though it threatens to sink a bit to sports-bar groove metal territory. “The Pack” is a straight-up old-school thrash shout-out to the band’s fans that brings the album into its final third, where the usual Death Angel concerns begin: I’m always left feeling their albums could be 10 minutes shorter and that a couple of the songs are expendable. Small complaints when dealing with rock-solid thrash of this quality, however. Humanicide is another worthy entry into what is going to end up being one of the most consistent thrash catalogues around.