Death Angel – The Evil Divide (Album Review)

Death Angel – The Evil Divide

OUT: 27th May, 2016

Death Angel line up:

Rob Cavestany | lead guitar
Mark Osegueda | vocals
Ted Aguilar | guitars
Will Carroll | drums
Damien Sisson | bass guitar

In recent times there has been a resurgence, of sorts, for the thrash metal genre, with some of the Bay Area’s finest putting out the best music of their careers – and Death Angel are no different. Formed in 1982 as a four piece, Death Angel’s constant gigging gained attention from not just metal fans but eventually, a major record label. What followed was a succession of legendary thrash metal releases that which still influence the genre today, including The Ultra-Violence and Frolic Through The Park. Nearly 30 years after a break up, reformation and line-up alterations, things have certainly changed for Death Angel, but at their core they’re still an ear-shatteringly good metal band.

The Evil Divide represents the bands eighth studio release, three years since 2013’s The Dream Call for Blood. Opening track ‘The Moth’ starts sedately enough, building with the slow heavy riffs of guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar, and supported by Damien Sisson’s bass and Will Carroll’s drumming. It’s not long before the heavy atmospheric intro transforms into a 100 mile an hour thrash metal fury. “Surprise, I’m back again!” proclaims Mark Osegueda, and like a moth to a flame we are drawn in. Drawn into 10 tracks of thrash metal goodness. There are no meandering 12 minutes opuses here. Once you’re in there is no escape. Death Angel are writing some of the best music of their career, and considering they were teenagers when they started back in 1982 it’s no surprise their songwriting has matured along with them. Lyrically the album couldn’t have come at a better time. With the current state of politics in America, this album could have been written for and about both sides.

Death Angel - The Evil Divide - ArtworkThat said, The Evil Divide is not a political album, nor is it preaching a certain view. There’s no rage against the machine here – just pure metal rage. If the first track draws you in then the following tracks grab you by the balls and gives them a good squeeze. ‘Cause For Alarm’ is just over three minutes of sonic ferocity, taking off at the speed of sound, without slowing down. Rob Cavestany’s riffing is almost hyperactive, but it’s not all flat out thrash. Songs like ‘Lost’ (an album highlight) combine heaviness with groove and melody, including Mark Osegueda’s restrained vocals, which are sublime.  Melody rich track ‘It Can’t Be This’ asks the question: who are we and where are we going? Another example of Death Angel’s continued song writing maturity.

‘Father Of Lies’ and ‘Hell To Pay’ continue with thundering savagery, with both tracks ticking all the thrash metal boxes of galloping low crunching riffs, shredding solos and machinegun percussion. Special mention must go out to ‘The Electric Cell’. Osegueda has never sounded better, combining his trademark upper register vocal screams with a slightly restrained chorus giving the song an unexpected hook.

Death Angel has delivered dark themes, crushing riffs, searing solos and screaming vocals with all the aggression you would expect. The Evil Divide is yet another leap forward. It not only raises the bar for the band but for all other thrash bands making music today.

I’m giving The Evil Divide 8 piercing screams out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Moth
  2. Cause for Alarm
  3. Lost
  4. Father of Lies
  5. Hell to Pay
  6. It Can’t Be This
  7. Hatred United, United in Hate
  8. Breakaway
  9. The Electric Cell
  10. Let the Pieces Fall

Gareth Williams

About Gareth Williams (129 Articles)
Resident ranga and Heavy Metal Poet. The only guy dumb enough to recite poetry at Soundwave, star of stage and radio. Now writing words for Wall Of Sound