Not to be missed…
Released on 27 May 2016 through Nuclear Blast Records, the evil divide frolicked through by Stephen Brophy
Out of the Bay Area thrash metal scene in the 80’s rose a band with a different vibe, and a pretty different sound too – maybe it was the guitar sound, maybe Mark’s vocals – but one thing has always been evident: right from their legendary debut The Ultra-Violence, Death Angel had the ability to stand out from the crowd. The Evil Divide is the band’s fifth studio album since reforming in 2001, and for me it’s the best of the lot. Not an easy task following up from 2013’s The Dream Calls For Blood, but the band are continuing to create excellent music. There have been line-up changes over the years, but not to the detriment of the band. This time around we are treated to ten tracks and the guys are in full flight, and as with the last couple of Death Angel albums, there’s no holding back. But it’s not all played out in the same style or pace, and these guys are putting their considerable talents to their full use on The Evil Divide. It all knits together perfectly.
Opening with the hard edged ‘The Moth’, the blazing guitar solos, the killer riffs and vicious vocals marry perfectly in the track. There’s an element of Slayer about the riffs, but this track has tons of their own sound in there. ’Cause For Alarm’ has a slightly different vibe to it but still holds the choppy shredding that appears elsewhere and the riffs are top notch. Cavestrany and Aguilar are on top form throughout, such a solid base for the band to work off, you get the impression that they are having fun making this music. It’s not just being pushed out there for the sake of it, not for the pension fund, but because this is what they do, and they do it so well.
Among the highlights here – and there are many – this isn’t an album to listen to once and leave in the corner. Even after constant plays its subtleties are not all showing their face and you feel you still have more to discover, which is great. Thrash masters they may be but not everything is played or delivered at breakneck pace, the slowest song on the album is probably ‘Lost’ but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. Mark’s vocal delivery is breath-taking, very different, but full of emotion and containing the power – terrific song.
The rhythm section also deserves a big pat on the back here. Damien Sisson (Bass) and Will Carroll (Drums) have been with the band for some seven years now and both have proven themselves valuable additions. It’s a powerhouse combo that doesn’t lack touch or feel to bring down the pain at the required moment. ‘Hell To Pay’ and ‘Breakaway’ are two crushing thrashers, with the later in particular having a very much Death Angel sound to it. They’ve always been a band who structure tracks very well and add their own flair on top. This is evident again throughout the closer ‘Let The Pieces Fall’ with some really cool guitar licks through the riffs, which in themselves soar.
This album is definitely flying into my Top 10 of 2016: the more you listen the more you want to hear, and you can’t ask for much more than that. It’s a terrific piece of work that hits you on the first listen and just gets better the more it sinks in. These tracks need to be heard live though and hopefully some European dates are on the cards for later this year or early next year. Not to be missed out on, get this album and enjoy it.
10 out of 10
- The Moth
- Cause For Alarm
- Father Of Lies
- Hell To Pay
- It Can’t Be This
- Hatred United/United Hate
- The Electric Cell
- Let The Pieces Fall