Death Angel
Humanicide

Hot damn! The floor is lava, my ass. The floor is pure fucking Death Angel fire! Rest assured, the band’s newest thrash platter, Humanicide, will burn you up, consuming your pitiful little being, leaving nary a trace that your ever existed, much less mattered.  A bit much? Maybe, but Humanicide really is that good, we’re talking contender for album of the year good.

The band’s sixth full-length album since their 2004 comeback, Humanicide sees Death Angel, once again, proving the fact that no matter how great the group’s first coming was (and lets be honest, it was pretty damn great. The Ultra Violence, Frolic in the Park, and Act III are all underrated classics in their own right. Okay, The Ultra Violence isn’t  underrated, but still…), it’s their second coming that has been the stuff that has really cemented their legacy as truly worthy.

Ripping out of the gates with a roaring ferocity, the album’s title track, “Humanicide”, is fast paced, catchy, and straight up blistering at times.  The band is extremely tight and sounds as hungry as ever, if not more. Some nice basswork underneath a building riff at the 3:29 mark leads into an explosive solo that simply slays and everyone sounds fantastic, especially, vocalist, Mark Osegueda. A lot of times in reviewing albums, you come across those bands that may not have a true bad song on their release, but they don’t really have any standouts or highlights; well not with Humanicide.

No, this time around Death Angel delivers highlight after highlight, each track just as great as the one before it. Whether it’s the NWOBHM and punk aesthetics of the anthem-esque “I Came for Blood”, the pulsing call to arms for all thrashers, old and young alike, of “The Pack”, or the fantastic display of genuinely fresh Bay Area might found in “Ghost of Me” (complete with a guest solo from Children of Bodom‘s Alexi Laiho), there’s plenty of opportunities to throw horns and stomp about your living room when indulging in Humanicide. Speaking of guest solos, producer/guitarist Jason Suecof gets in a few tasty licks as well on “Revelation Song”, a more stripped back and toned down jam that is no less powerful by any means. The track actually reminds me a bit of We’ve Come for You All-era Anthrax and or even some of the “heavier” material some of the better hair bands would pull off, definitely some good stuff. The cd release of Humanicide also includes the bonus track “The Day I Walked Away”, a great track in its own right, but I see why it’s considered a bonus track and not part of the actual album. The song is a tad more expressionist and dialed down, so-to-speak, bringing to mind modern Susperia and maybe even Megadeth, circa 2011.

It’s interesting how the bands that were leading the second wave of ’80’s thrash metal,  i.e. OverKill, Testament, Death Angel, and Exodus, are the very same acts that are easily comprising a Big Four of the 21st century. Though to be fair, OverKill and Exodus were just as vital to that initial first wave thrash attack. While OverKill has been slightly more prolific the past dozen or so years than the others, I’d have to say that it’s Death Angel that is actually spearheading the movement of the been there/done that thrash masters, especially based on the merit of Humanicide and the band’s previous three releases, Relentless Retribution, The Dream Calls for Blood, and The Evil Divide.

Let’s be honest, it’s not like thrash metal hasn’t been around the block more than a few times, especially the more popular sounds of California’s Bay Area, so if you’re looking for something obscure and/or offbeat, then you’ve obviously stumbled across the wrong review and I’m shocked you’ve made it this far. Yet if  a plain and simple, good old fashioned kickass shredding album sounds just like what the metal doctor ordered, then Humanicide is the album for you. From start to finish, it’s a high quality, high intensity, top notch, fun filled ride. Like I’ve stated before, every track is a highlight, full of fast paced, catchy and pulsing rhythms, ripping solos, fantastic and tasteful basswork, and drums that simply batter the shit completely out of you. Top all of that off with some  amazing sounding vocals, sing-a-long choruses, gang shouts galore, a fabulous production, and a terrific looking album cover and layout that brings back the “Pack” whom also graced the cover of The Dream Calls for Blood, and a happy camper you will indeed be with Humanicide.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
August 8th, 2019

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