Album review: DEATH ANGEL – The Dream Calls For Blood

Nuclear Blast – Out Now.

Twelve years ago, and following a ten year Sabbatical, the vast majority of the original line up of the Bay Area Thrashers Death Angel reunited for the purpose of participating in Thrash of the Titans – a cancer benefit show in support of Testament’s then ailing front man Chuck Billy.

What was originally perceived as a one-off appearance, kick-started the process of a glorious comeback – one focused not on past glories, but on the release of top quality albums such as “The Art Of Dying” (2004) and 2010’s “Relentless Retribution”.

Having spent the last three albums touring the world in support of bands like Metallica, Slayer and Testament, and obviously fired up as a direct result of this, the San Francisco quintet entered the studio and recorded – guess what – yet another killer album, entitled “The Dream Calls For Blood”.

When questioned about the possible reasons for this new-found energy and aggression, Rob Cavestany (lead guitar) & Co mention touring with the aforementioned legends and the anniversary shows for their classic debut “The Ultra-Violence” as being mainly responsible.

Though I agree that the energy and passion involved in the creation of “The Dream Calls For Blood” is close to what the band showcased back in 1987, it would be a gross mistake to believe that Death Angel’s seventh studio album is simply an attempt at recreating a specific style and sound.

Death Angel, anno 2013, are a much more mature group of musicians with skills that have enabled them to create an album, which, though straight forward on the surface, invests heavily in thematic and rhythmical changes for effect. The end result is, simply put, staggering!

The first couple of times I listened to the album I wasn’t sure about my thoughts on it. Sure, there were riffs and melodic passages that attracted my attention, but, with the exception of “Execution/Don’t Save Me”, I was struggling to truly connect with any other composition.

Five or six spins later, my overall impression of the album could not have been more different! Memorable lead guitar passages co-exist with short but brilliantly conceived bass tunes and, though rhythmical manipulation is the main technique here, it takes place in such a subtle and refined way that not even the most diehard fan 80s Thrasher will have any qualms about it.

Filled with shredding riffs with a classic head banging tempo, “Left For Dead” provides a dynamic introduction to the album, while the less aggressive, but far more intricate “Son Of The Morning” proves that ‘fast’ doesn’t necessary mean ‘heavy’.

Traces of a certain Exodus something can be found in “Fallen”, while the same-titled “The Dream Calls For Blood” is straight forward and has one of the most highly addictive sing-along refrains of the album – a true highlight.

Rob Cavestany may not be as famed as Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, but his contribution on “Succubus” proves that he deserves equal respect, while the bombastic riff that follows the beautifully crafted acoustic intro of “Execution/Don’t Save Me” is a testament to this band’s musical talents and constitutes a classic in the making.

While “Caster Of Shame” further showcases the skills of guitar duo Cavestany/Aguilar, the (at times) Voivod-sounding “Detonate” finds the band at its experimental finest. The closing duet “Empty” / “Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust” offers killer riffs and flamboyant lead solos in abundance.

We often talk about the fact that the future of Thrash Metal is in the hands of the younger generation and journalists wholeheartedly support bands like Warbringer and Evile in their quest to keep the flame of Thrash Metal alive.

Though I have much respect for every young band with a real passion for this highly energetic musical genre, it is as much when legends of the genre like Death Angel decide to pull their weight and flex their artistic muscles by releasing albums of the quality of “The Dream Calls For Blood”, that the future of Thrash looks bright and promising! A top quality release from a truly inspirational act!

John Stefanis

Rating: ****1/2 (4.5/5.0)

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 24 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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