The Evil Divide review by Death Angel

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  • Released: May 27, 2016
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 9.2 (13 votes)
Death Angel: The Evil Divide
2

Sound — 7
Thrash myth-and-legend Death Angel come back at us with their eight album "The Evil Divide," an album built upon their previous effort "The Dream Calls for Blood" and the most stable band line-up since their early '90s period.

In some ways and in some spheres, it's seen as a strangely momentous occasion whenever Death Angel release an album. Being a bit late to the thrash party when they first started in the mid '80s, with some of the members barely being actual adults at the time, it's almost as if each post-2000's album is a figurative sign of maturity on their part. Certainly one that flows into the band history like a pre-destined storyboard.

The being said, it is sometimes puzzling as to how a band with as varied a signature-sound history as Death Angel have managed to reign in consistency as well as they have done on "The Evil Divide." "Act III" and "A Frolic Through the Park" are, historically speaking, curveballs that have little baring their modern work. But this isn't even describing what the album even sounds like.

On the surface of things, none of this really feels invigorating. Perhaps tens or hundreds of bands could drum up a genre concept in the same way to this. But like most things in metal, it's the details that really matter.

While completely distanced from their pre-2000 work, the amount of influence infused within "The Evil Divide" really does add enough to make this quite a bit above "decent." If it's the Swedish death metal hints and flirtations in opener "The Moth," the crossover/hardcore riffing in "Cause for Alarm" and "Hell to Pay" or the strangely progressive, arpeggiated sections and bass harmonies in "Father of Lies," when put on top of a thrashy base as solid and driven as this, then heads do turn. Even the more obvious singles - "Lost" for example - have enough of an edge to puncture any notions of mediocrity.

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It may sound as if there's a certain note of surprise in the tone of what's being written here. Given how over-saturated most genres are these days, being able to stick out within the notoriously conservative thrash genre is a feat in itself. Doing so while being so historically grounded in the earliest period of thrash's existence is also note-worthy.

So, stripped down to a point, "The Evil Divide" just sounds significantly more interesting than most thrash preconceptions would dictate but it's not the sort of thing that jump-starts evolution within the genre. There's certainly a lot to like, the riff style, melodic details and harmony writing is pretty top class, but it's still at the heart of things, a little bit too familiar.

Lyrics — 8
Having been the vocalist since the inception, Mark Osegueda has evolved away from his earlier style much like the overall direction of the band. Utilizing his Mille Petrozza-style vocal technique, the punchiness and aggression needed for this kind of thrash is very much felt through Osegueda himself.

Although his performance is, rhythmically, a little bit on the basic side, dispersed within the harsher performance are the soaring cleans that stick out within the thrash sphere, adding to the albums character by a large margin. Fitting, well-executed, bish-bash-bosh.

Lyrically, "The Evil Divide" is themed around the flux of world and the goings on around it, about an observers view of the myriad conspiring forces of instability and the "evil" that divides it. In some ways, relatable, while in others, a concept that doesn't do much to fire the neurons.

Sounds as if that was meant with derision but instead it works for the album: a well executed lyrical baseline can add a lot to an albums personal value but consider that this is a mostly straight-forward thrash piece, large, open ended and vague viewpoints distract from the enjoyment of the thing. The power of the lyrics don't quite match the power of the music.

Overall Impression — 7
With final observations, "The Evil Divide" is strong, enjoyable, avoids pit-falls, shows credible evolution and adds enough unique flair to be interesting. For a thrash album, that's a very good place to be. However, there is a certain "basic" quality to compositions that just can't quite be removed. Considering that actual trailblazing albums like "Terminal Redux" keep reinventing the thrash standard, this sort of modern brand of thrash shared by Death Angel, Feared and even Kreator are dangerously close to becoming "the new bog standard."

That said, it's not going to do you wrong in terms of sheer fun.

Songs to look out for: "The Moth," "Lost," "Father of Lies," "It Can't Be This," "Breakaway."

14 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Deathoholic
    I really think this band stepped up a few things over the last three albums. The Ultra-Violence was pretty much the only DA album I really liked before they did Relentless Retribution. The last three albums have all been great!
    myap0calypse99
    I just don't get how people are still interested in hearing new thrash albums. I feel like the genre has become so stale and its fan base is so closed minded, at least in my experience. In my late teens I couldnt get enough of thrash and even played in a thrash band, but now it's so boring and laughable that these bands are so stuck in a time. Even bands like Metallica outgrew it by Lightning and evolved the genre in a direction that was interesting. It's like they're trying to preserve something that was never quite there, and when it was it was short lived by the bands who created it. Even slayer evolved a little and when they didn't is when it got stale because they painted themselves into a creative corner. Selling out by being the same.
    kratos379
    Music doesn't have to be revolutionary to be good. Look at a lot of blues music. Many artists cover quite a few standards. Just look at Stevie Ray Vaughan for a great example of that. Sometimes it's just about how you connect with it and for others, it may not be stale, because they find more nuance in it that keeps it fresh.
    redgravegilver
    Yeah music doesn't have to be so revolutionary to be good except the fact that Thrash Metal is literally fucking stale since the 90's. Rust In Peace was pretty much really the last thrash metal album that is really creative by thrash standards. The aesthetic and the formula has been literally the same since the 80's while Black Metal and Death metal has become much more dynamic, sophisticated and Diversified by adding different instruments and also letting other genres into their sound(which is funny considering they are much more extreme genres) and compare that to Thrash, which the latter has become monotone, samey and repetitive, uninspired and a self parody of itself. The very idea of adding or fully implementing different instruments into thrash scared thrasheads because they would be called sell out by their peers. Some of the classic thrash bands still have power into them but pretty much modern Thrash metal bands with the exception of Vektor are playing uninspired riffs that we all have heard better during the 80's and their is nothing interesting or dynamic about their song writing whatsoever.
    scottslayer
    Wew lad, better go back to that bubblegum pop then.
    heavywinter1123
    So wait because he doesn't like thrash he must by default love bubblegum pop. I think most thrash metal is pretty boring but it doesn't mean I am somehow musically less for it. We all have our tastes personally I like a lot of post rock for the clarity of the instrumentation and sound, it's just different. Sure a lot of post rock bands are kind of doing the same spacey sounding stuff, but as a genre there is some really cool innovative stuff going on. You almost prove dudes point.
    redgravegilver
    He did proved my point of how a stereotypical thrash metal fan acts and how they respond though. Not all thrash metal fan obviously but quite frankly the thrash metal fanbase disgusts me in general. Most hypocritical fanbase that I have ever seen.
    redgravegilver
    lol what am I not surprised? Obvious and typical degenerate jock thrashhead response. You probably didn't even read my whole message or just lack the intelligence to understand it. Then again most of you thrash heads have the brain the size of a stegosaurus whose favorite word is poser and yell it until they are blue to the face. I'll go back listening to death metal, black metal and progressive metal. Genres that still has creativity, dynamics and diversity in them unlike a dead horse that is thrash lmao
    redgravegilver
    Modern Thrash bands for the most part sucks(Except Vektor) but I feel that some of old guys for some reason(Testament, Overkill, Death Angel) are still pulling out their best release.