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Death Angel – Killing Season

Label: Nuclear Blast USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
After a many year hiatus (about ten years) of not making any new music or touring, Death Angel reactivated in 04 and recorded ‘The Art of Dying” after playing a benefit show for Testament lead singer Chuck Billy (who at the time was recovering from cancer).
“Killing Season” sees returning original members singer Mark Osegueda, Rob Cavestany on guitars, Dennis Pepa (bass) and Andy Galeon on drums joined by new member on second guitar Ted Aguilar. “Killing Season” builds on the strengths of and from recording “Art of Dying” while incorporating a bit more of their outside influences (jazz/funk). Example, opener ‘Lord of Hate” begins with acoustic guitar before moving ahead to thrash riffing mode and the groove Death Angel are known for. Nice break down and rhythm change mid way before the solo. Mark at the mic in his own way has a uniqueness to his voice and delivery (you can really hear it on the earlier albums), easily understood like all the great thrash singers.

Death Angel of today is aggressive like “The Ultra Violence” and as melodic as “Act II”, but age and today’s technology has given the music more grit and grime heard on tracks like the fist in your face “Sonic Beatdown”. “Dethroned” has a bit of a punk attitude for the chorus with a clean guitar intro and a melodic lead bridge. A seamless transition between the aggression and more melodic sounds. ‘God vs. God” appears to have an influence from the Korn way of thinking with a rhythmic drum beat and its distorted guitar leads with harmonics. Its not bad, not really Death Angel but not bad, not that out in left field but then again these guys are pretty good at working in different influences into their style.

I like “Carnival Justice” with its straight forward thrash groove and twin guitar leads. It also includes a short little diddly/breakdown mid way for a change that works well. Like I said, these guys know how to throw you a composition curve ball in a song and make it work without sounding out of place. “Buried Alive” and “Soulless” both slow down the pacing for a simple arrangement and chorus. “Resurrection Machine” I think is my favorite track, it has a great mellow and somber opening with soft drums and acoustic guitars before effortlessly morphing into the main course of a catchy riff section, verse and chorus.

“Killing Season” is Death Angel getting back into their groove and playing in the pocket. I think long time fans will be pleased.
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