Sound — 7
Thrash metal group Death Angel have been performing and storming the stage for over two decades. The band first formed in Concord, California back in 1982, and at first solely acted as a local heavy metal band. Death Angel released their debut studio album "The Ultra-Violence" back in 1987, doing so independently. The band spread the word about their new music by one of the greatest ways possible: by manning the stage and performing it live. Death Angel stuck to this tactic again for their second album, 1988's "Frolic Through the Park," which would attract the interest of a major record label, Geffen Records. Geffen would sign Death Angel soon after, and subsequently the group would release their third studio album, appropriately titled "Act III," the following year.
For this studio outing, the album was produced by famed metal producer Max Norman, who previously worked with such prestigious acts as Ozzy Osbourne and Megadeth. "Act III" was a significant success for Death Angel, spawning multiple successful singles including "Seemingly Endless Time" and "A Room With a View": both of these songs earned full length music videos and earned heavy airplay on MTV's Headbangers Ball. Unfortunately for Death Angel, while out on the road in support of their then-recently released third outing they suffered a casualty. The band fell victim to a serious tour bus crash, which resulted an injury to drummer Andy Galeon. During Andy's year long recovery, lead vocalist Mark Osegueda left the lineup, resulting in the end of Death Angel.
Death Angel remained in musical purgatory for the course of over a decade, before reuniting as part of the 2004 "Thrash of the Titans" benefit concert held by Testament singer Chuck Billy. A reunited Death Angel (minus guitarist Gus Pepa) went on to write and record their first studio album in fourteen years, 2004's "The Art of Dying." Since then, Death Angel have released two additional albums, "Killing Season" (which featured producer Nick Raskulinecz of Rush fame) and "Relentless Retribution," the latter of which was issued three years ago. Death Angel are now ready to issue the latest addition to their musical catalog, and have marked their return to the music world with their seventh studio album, titled "The Dream Calls for Blood."
The members of Death Angel have never been tighter than they are on this new studio outing.
All eleven songs maintains a backbreaking pace and transitions with ease. The album's title track boasts all of the same elements which popularized their earlier albums: distortion soaked guitar riffs, intense lead vocals, and an unforgiving percussion and bass backbone. Once you reach the end of the new disc, you are eagerly met with a formidable cover of Black Sabbath's "Heaven and Hell"; albeit it doesn't deliver the same intensity as the original, but an enjoyable listen nonetheless.
Lyrics — 8
A lot has to be said for thrash metal lead vocalists, especially in the case of vocalists who have been performing night after night, screaming to the pace of pick grinding rhythm guitars. In the case of Death Angel singer Mark Osegueda, this could not be truer. On "The Dream Calls for Blood," the thirty one years of screaming have apparently unaffected his vocal range or his ability to deliver lyrics with plenty of emotion. As with the majority of groups who maintain the same lead vocalist for three decades, this helps provide a familiarness to Death Angel's latest studio outing and the rest of their catalog.
Overall Impression — 7
It's been three years since Death Angel's last studio effort, and the band more than makes up for it with the proud collection of heart racing new compositions which make up "The Dream Calls for Blood." Any established fan will feel right at home while listening to this new release, while any thrash metal fan should find no problem with falling right into the groove of their new album.