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Death Angel - Humanicide

Label: Nuclear Blast
Format: Download
Released: 2019
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/10


There's something loveable about Death Angel, an overlooked outfit, composing a thrash sound that borrows bits & pieces from some of the Big 4 (Slayer and Megadeth, most notably), as well as those oft discussed, but hotly debated, next four, like Bay Area neighbors Exodus and Testament, as well as current touring mates, Overkill. Yet, it all becomes something unique (but reassuringly familiar). Guitarist Rob Cavestany and singer Mark Oseguedo are rare gems, who, despite three decades in the public eye (give or take, considering the 90s hiatus), retain a cloak of anonymity.

 

Since their reunion, DA have only gotten harder, at times approaching death metal intensity, yet always churning out intricate guitar rhythms, with vary dynamics. It's nothing new, dating back to “The Ultra-Violence”, ‘Room With A View’ and sections of ‘Seemingly Endless Time’. This time around, the heaviest cuts seem to be front loaded in the running sequence. Don't miss the restrained (by comparison) intro to the otherwise scorching, opening title track, the acoustic begun (paradoxical) subtleties within ‘Aggressor’ and piano, atop a barely-there undercurrent of guitar, to round out ‘Immortal Behated’.
However, such idiosyncrasies are NOT why fans will gravitate towards “Humanicide” (or any other Death Angel platter, for that matter). It's a nice bonus, but not the calling card. That would be Cavestany's maniacal riffs and Oseguedo's shouted, vocal cord shredding delivery (to say nothing of the energetic live performances). Witness vicious ‘Divine Defector’, speedy riffing ‘Alive And Screaming’ and in a nod to the punk sensibilities underlining Motorhead, there's ‘I Came For Blood’, drum fills sounding as if the kit is rolling down the stair. Following ‘Revelation Song’, a stab at more traditional metal fare, whammy bar happy & widdling guitar ‘Of Rats & Men’ closes things out. Humanity might be in trouble, but Death Angel's longevity is assured.

 
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