May 31, 2019 Death Angel – Humanicide (Album Review)
When emerging onto the Metal scene during the late ’80s, Death Angel was among one of the youngest and the most exotic breeds of Thrash-oriented Metal bands with most of its members’ being of Filipino descent. Following the heels of fellow California-hailing Metal gods such as Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Exodus, and Testament, Death Angel soon made a name of its own—an equally grand one. It released its debut full-length, The Ultra-Violence, in 1988, and followed this up with a slew of relentless, powerhouse albums, from 1988’s Frolic through the Park to the latest powerhouse, Humanicide.
Released on Friday, May 31, 2019, through Nuclear Blast Records, Humanicide is Death Angel’s ninth studio album. Produced by Jason Suecof (Deicide, Trivium) of Audiohammer studios for the recording and mixing, along with the mastering of Ted Jensen (Slipknot, Pantera) of Sterling Sound, it further etches the name of the enduring American band.
Currently comprised by Rob Cavestany (lead guitar, backing vocals), Mark Osegueda (lead vocals), Ted Aguilar (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Will Carroll (drums), and Damien Sisson (bass), the follow-up to 2016’s The Evil Divide is delivered on the historical plate of Thrash Metal.
Consisting of 11 tracks, including the bonus cut, Humanicide opens straightaway with the breakneck speed of the title track—dramatic, progressive, ultraviolent—Death Angel at its most sinister! The sonic chaos continues with the blood-curdling “Divine Defector,” whose razor-sharp guitar and pounding bass and drums slice and drill relentlessly into the listener’s eardrums. With the ensuing “Aggressor,” Death Angel’s then combines a bit of Neoclassical Metal and Nu Metal, exuding grooves and echoes of Pantera (“Cowboys from Hell”) and Sepultura (“Arise”).
“I Came for the Blood” is a change of style and pace, paying homage to the older gods of the genre such as Judas Priest (“Exciter”) and Motörhead (“Ace of Spades”)—ruthless, faster, more chilling. Death Angel then turns Neoclassical once again with the gloom and doom of “Immortal Behated,” which then explodes into an outburst of Thrash shards and splinters. This is while “Alive and Screaming” and “The Pack” follow appropriately, as they consecutively grate the same heart-racing angst and intensity out of the loudspeakers—further displaying Death Angel’s place in the pantheon of Thrash Metal pioneers.
Furthermore, “Ghost of Me” whips nostalgia and maturity, as its structure will surely remind the initiated of the band’s beginning and its delivery a sign of honed precision. And then there is the standout track—the catchy and melodic “Revelation Song,” which is a breath of freshness from Death Angel’s often dark discography. Reaching the conclusion, the relatively stable lineup of Cavestany, Osegueda, Aguilar, Carroll, and Sisson round their latest onslaught with the unforgiving Speed/Thrash Metal hybrid “Of Rats and Men” and bonus track “The Day I Walked Away.”
Without further ado, Humanicide is a well-woven representative of Thrash Metal in the current era. Its concept and substance shows that there is still so much more to expect from Death Angel in the forthcoming new decade, considering the renewed energy that the band has emanated in its last three albums starting with 2010’s Relentless Retribution. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Humanicide 5 out of 5 stars.