The Evil Divide
(Nuclear Blast Records)
I'll be the first to wholeheartedly admit that I enjoy well-executed Thrash Metal as much, if not more, than the stereotypical average Metalhead. It's an indisputable fact that has been documented ad nauseam throughout the duration of my career as a pseudo-journalist. Among the artists and groups I have most often bestowed my adjective and adverb-laden praises upon is improbably long-running Bay Area Thrash Metal titans Death Angel. Having carefully followed--or, more accurately, obsessed over--the group's often-storied career from some it's most obscure and primitive origins (The Ultra Violence, Frolic Through The Park and oddly long out-of-print assemblage Archives And Artifacts) to the current post-'the reformation' period, I have devoted countless hours to the painstaking documentation of their various auditory explorations. Accordingly, you can only imagine my excitement when presented with The Evil Divide, the group's latest and quite possibly greatest lagniappe to date.
On the brilliant The Evil Divide (2016), an expertly assembled ten song collection of deftly-executed Thrash Metal, each track, beginning with the emotionally-charged lament “The Moth” and the relentlessly pummeling first single “Father Of Lies”, instantly commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Wisely attempting to capitalize on the tidal wave of momentum initiated with the release of the universally-heralded The Dream Calls For Blood (2013), the group wastes little--if any--time engulfing the proverbial average listener (i.e. you, the increasingly faithful reader) a seamless blend of soaring and multi-octave vocals, razor-sharp fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Wasting little--if any--time delivering a breathtaking and multi-faceted sonic attack that 'delivers the goods', the initial auditory excursions showcases their once-unthinkable status as the bona fide elder statesmen of the genre.
Continuing with the delightfully swaggering “It Can't Be This” and the thought-provoking harangue “Hatred United, United Hate”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of vocalist Mark Osegueda, guitarists Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar, bassist Damien Sisson and drummer Will Carroll (Hammers Of Misfortune, Machine Head, Scarecrow) steamrolls ahead at what can only be described as a carefully-calculated pace. After briefly considering a return to the more melodic direction of their sole 'major label' effort Act III (1990), the group drives home each key focal point without straying from formulation that initially propelled the group to the dizzying heights of international acclaim. Flexing their more-than-considerable creative muscles early and often, the group scores major points by deftly accentuating--and, with rare exception, entirely focusing their energies on--their already well-documented penchant for harnessing a uniquely uncompromising wealth of rage.
Produced and Mixed by the acclaimed Jason Suecof (All That Remains, God Forbid, Trivium) at Sanford, Florida-based AudioHammer Studios, other standouts, including the impossibly menacing effigy “The Electric Cell” and the equally impressive closer “Let The Pieces Fall”, offer a veritable wealth of further sonic evidence in support of the group's lyrical and compositional ingenuities. Characterized throughout by a disarming array of hooks and an unnervingly intense lyrical vernacular that instantly sets them apart from their few legitimate contemporaries, all but the group's weakest of moments are seemingly destined to appeal to both clueless newcomers and die-hard, imported bootleg-obsessed completists alike. Even if you somehow fail to find solace within their unabashedly over-the-top modus operandi, The Evil Divide--and, as a result, the group itself--ultimately succeeds by blatantly pandering to the depraved musical desires of their feverishly rabid constituents.
But are they really 'Big Four'-worthy? Absolutely. In fact, at this point, even with the inescapable presence of releases from Anthrax (For All Kings), Megadeth (Dystopia) and Slayer (Repentless), suggesting anything less would be tantamount to outright lunacy. With the The Evil Divide easily surpassing both the previously-mentioned The Dream Calls For Blood (2013) as well as the truly scalding effigy Relentless Retribution (2010), the majority--if not all--of the decidedly exhaustive wares contained herein effectively represent the finest Bay Area Thrash Metal offerings of the past two decades. Love 'em or loathe 'em, this is quite possibly as good as it gets. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a fist-pumping, mosh-inducing alternative to the puréed, 'New Rock'-fueled frivolities that are so often the Pop-infused mainstream, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane counter-irritants for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The Evil Divide (2016)
The Dream Calls For Blood (2013)
Relentless Retribution (2010)
Sonic German Beatdown: Live In Germany (2009)
Killing Season (2008)
Archives And Artifacts (Box Set) (2005)
The Art Of Dying (2004)
Fall From Grace (1990)
Act III (1990)
Frolic Through The Park (1988)
The Ultra-Violence (1987)
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