A little over three years since Relentless Retribution and veteran US thrash giants Death Angel are back with their seventh album, The Dream Calls for Blood. And in a word it is SUPERB.
Listening to Death Angel is always like going on a wonderful nostalgia trip for me. It was the late eighties and I was getting my ears into metal for the first time and, as you did back then, you received a mix tape from your mates with a mix of bands and tracks. Two tracks from Death Angel, Road Mutants and Cold Gin from their tremendous Frolic Through the Park album, appeared on one for me alongside the likes of Overkill, Testament, Slayer, Nuclear Assault and the likes and I was sold.
The Dream Calls for Blood is Death Angel doing exactly what they do best. The whole maturing of thrash as a genre has a helluva lot to do with guys like these, Slayer, Testament, Overkill, Onslaught et al still going strong and producing absolutely kick ass albums of quality such as this one. To me it doesn’t matter one bit that they’re not trying to re-invent themselves or bring anything new to the table. The whole reason for their longevity is that from their early days they found that sweet spot of theirs that worked and have focused, honed and matured that sound to a big old perfect slice of heavy metal we hear today.
This album consists of ten tracks of stonking heavy metal too. Death Angel and their like have transcended thrash and are producing, to my ears and age anyway, classic heavy metal. The Dream Calls for Bloody typifies metal for me perfectly. The aggressive guitars and galloping riffs, the unmistakeable metal vocals, melodies and screams of Mark Osegueda, the wah-wah wailing pulls, divebombs and runs of solos all backed up by thunderous drum and bass work. This kind of stuff was what made me love metal in the first place and makes me love metal so much to this day.
Yes, this indeed is as cliched sounding as I can make it because it’s so damn bloody enjoyable to listen to. Its fists in the air, moshing, air guitar bliss and I love it and make no excuses for my love of it. All you fancy-dan metal hipsters looking for that “unique” new metal sound played with unconventional instruments, tunings or timings can just move along and leave us old school metal heads to shout from the rooftops about how you lot and your like wouldn’t be around without guys like Death Angel doing exactly this awesomeness… rant over.
Anyway, back to this big fat slice of deliciousness. After opening with a really dischordant and pretty damn eerie acoustic intro we’re into familiar territory right from the off with Left for Dead before the likes of Son of the Morning and Fallen bring in some tremendous anthemic choruses. The title track and follow on track Succubus both beat you up big style with some magnificent shredding while Execution/Don’t Save Me gives them the opportunity to showcase their versatility with some great acoustic work and slower paced attacks.
Detonate surprises you heading into the final third of the album with its symphonic approach before taking on a more melodic and almost progressive feel, interspersed by more typical thrash notes and probably the best vocal work on the album from Osegueda. Empty continues the progressive theme but with more of the thrash brutality creeping in and, for me, is certainly the most enjoyable on the album. Final track Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust ends the album with a great big slow burning slice of evil that brings to mind Slayer’s mighty Seasons in the Abyss and is a truly brilliant end to a brilliant album.
The Dream Calls for Blood is Death Angel doing what they do best and I bloody love it to bits.
1. Left for Dead
2. Son of the Morning
4. The Dream Calls for Blood
6. Execution/Don’t Save Me
7. Caster of Shame
10. Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust
Death Angel are:
Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitars
Ted Aguilar – guitars
Damien Sisson – bass guitar
Will Carroll – drums