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Death Angel
Relentless Retribution
October 2010
Released: 2010, Nuclear Blast Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

The legendary thrash metal band Death Angel has been active since returning after their 2001 Thrash of the Titans performance. RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION is their 3rd since reuniting and is the band’s 6th studio album overall. Even though I’ve liked their post reunion material, none of it has really stuck with me like classics THE ULTRA VIOLENCE (1987) and my fav ACT III (1990). Although RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION is a great album, for these ears it is again good but still not as memorable as their classics. With the new album, the band has a new bassist (Damien Sissom) and a new drummer (Will Carrol) who replaces original members Dennis Pepa (bass) and Andy Galeon (drums). Even though the replacements are solid, the loss of Dennis and Andy can be heard.



Opening track “Relentless Revolution” has a nice build-up with some suitably thrashy riffing and as the song progresses some gang vocals. The tremolo picked riff in here doesn’t sound like Death Angel but more of a nod to (watered down) Black Metal. It works but detracts from the brilliance of the opening riff. “Claws in so Deep” begins with an oddly chorded riff with rapid fire drumming. Then a melodic chorus by the band’s backing vocalist/guitarist. I love the melodic part around 4mins in with the Maiden-esque backing guitars. The song has an acoustic outro played by Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriella. Although it’s neat, it isn’t an integral part of the song…and it should have been! This could have provided the building blocks for a song like “Room with a View” or “Veil of Deception”….quite the missed opportunity as it’s tacked on here without much thought. Maybe they’ll eventually get to actually collaborate with this guitarist and put something special together. “River of Rapture” brings some classic thrash riffage. There are some of the sharp little Death Angel guitar fills in this one…finally as they are not used much. Similarly, “This Hate” begins with a huge riff that immediately brings a smile as does “I Chose the Sky” which is my fav song on the album! The lead vocals on “Opponents At Sides” by Rob Cavestany offers a different flavor. He sounds particularly great on the chorus with the soaring “They will earn your trust; they will call you brother…”. “Volcanic” is probably their attempt at a “Room With A View” style song…but Mark Osegueda should have been singing it, it needs drums, it needs to sound like Death Angel and not some kinda leftover song by The Organization. The album ends on a high note with the whiplashed thrasher “Where They Lay” – another of the album’s best tracks.



So although I have a few gripes with the album, overall this is a success and shows that the band can still pull together and release meaningful music. Vocalist Mark Osegueda is still in fine form on the album sounding full of anger and venom. I would have liked to hear him doing something more melodic rather than resort to the guitarist for the cleaner singing however. RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION is a solid album that stands up well in their catalog as maybe the best since reuniting….maybe…I will need some time and distance as everything new sometimes seems shinier. :)



(PS: I love this album cover! A great looking painting with nice coloring and that evil wolfgoatlord beast rules!!)
Track Listing


1. Relentless Revolution
2. Claws In So Deep
3. Truce
4. Into The Arms of Righteous Anger
5. River Of Rapture
6. Absence Of Light
7. This Hate
8. Death Of The Meek
9. Opponents At Sides
10. I Chose The Sky
11. Volcanic
12. Where They Lay

Lineup

Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitars, backing vocals
Ted Aguilar – guitars
Damien Sisson – bass
Will Carroll – drums


Next review: » Death Angel - Relentless Retribution
Previous review: » Death Angel - Killing Season

Death Angel
Relentless Retribution
October 2010
Released: 2010, Nuclear Blast
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Demonator

As reunions go, Death Angel's hasn't exactly been a roaring success - no thanks certainly to their fans struggling to come to grips with the fact that they're unlikely to ever write anything quite as potent as 1987's THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE. Still they soldier on and as much as their last full length outing improved on its predecessor, RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION makes an even stronger argument for the San Francisco quintet's continued relevance.



Musically of course, not much has changed - at least not on the surface. Death Angel still specialize in the balls-out thrashing that upstarts like Evile and Bonded By Blood have brought back into the popular consciousness. Yet it doesn't take long to notice that the band have upped their game and not just, as the album's moniker would suggest, in the aggression stakes either. That's certainly present, perhaps even more so than anything to bear their handle over the past six years the tracks they present here snort and snarl like a wildebeest with blue balls. The real difference-maker though is in how loose and experimental the group have become. While not quite as much as it may have been twenty years ago, it still a daring move to stick Spanish guitar sensations Rodrigo E Gabriella at the end of "Claws In So Deep", and it's real testament to the talent of both parties that they're able to pull the collaboration off so gracefully.



In the end RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION vividly recalls the halcyon days of a genre that the many others are desperately trying to breathe new life into, but have thus far only part succeeded. And maybe it's because they were there during the old days, but Death Angel have not only managed to do this with more class than most, but also varnish it with an essentially modern sheen. As they say: form is temporary, class is eternal. That's definitely the case here.
Track Listing

1. Relentless Revolution

2. Claws in so Deep

3. Truce

4. Into the Arms of Righteous Anger

5. River of Rapture

6. Absence of Light

7. This Hate

8. Death of the Meek

9. Opponents at Sides

10. I Chose the Sky

11. Volcanic

12. Where They Lay

Lineup

Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitars
Ted Aguilar – guitars
Damien Sisson – bass
Will Carroll – drums


Next review: » Death Angel - Relentless Retribution
Previous review: » Death Angel - Killing Season

Death Angel
Relentless Retribution
October 2010
Released: 2010, Nuclear Blast America
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erich

Death Angel is a band that needs know introduction to most metal fans. From their raw and impressive debut THE ULTRA VIOLENCE, to the closing chapter in the first part of the band’s career ACT IIII, Death Angel have always had an eccentric and unconventional approach to thrash metal. When the band regrouped and released THE ART OF DYING in 2004 , old fans were rabid. Even though the second incarnation of Death Angel has failed to live up to the band’s stellar material from 20 years ago, Death Angel have proven they still have plenty of great material to deliver with a more modern edge.



RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION immediately signals aggression beginning with the outstanding cover art. Recorded about 20 miles north of me at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida, Death Angel enlisted Jason Suecof (Trivium producer) to produce and contribute a guitar appearance to the album. This was a wise move, as the production is face melting, everything being clearly discernible and with plenty of punch, perhaps their best produced album. The title track opens the album appropriately with a mid-paced chunky rhythm and venomous vocals from Mark Osegueda. “Claws So Deep” continues things, with a nice breakdown, an Exodus-like riff, and Death Angel’s penchant for unique backing vocals. This track also leans more to the modern metal approach, with a few nods to Trivium and hell and demons lyrics.



One thing to be assured of is that Rob Cavestany has really stepped up to the plate in terms of solos and solid rhythms on this album. While the songs are often more conventional than usual, Rob blisters on the leads and lends his vocals to several songs such as “Opponents At Side”. Back in the day, Death Angel wrote some of the most underrated metal ballads, and so on this album I was extremely excited to hear “Volcanic”, the first true Death Angel ballad since “Room With a View” and “Veil of Deception” on ACT III, with Rob handling vocal duties. Will Carroll fills in admirably for departed former drummer Andy Galeon, and ofcourse Dennis Pepa and Gus Pepa are also gone, leaving only Rob and Mark as the surviving original members. Vocally, Mark seems to get better with age and he has evolved into an excellent thrash metal vocalist.



Just to be clear, this is not a return to form of the glory days past. RELENTLESS RETRIBUTION is not as fast and heavy as THE ULTRA VIOLENCE, nor as riff and song oriented as ACT III. The band is still trying to find their identity in this new millennium, and while there is plenty to cheer about, the songs simply lack the catchy qualities and compelling depth of their earlier material. In terms of ranking, put this one about equal with THE ART OF DYING and not as good as KILLING SEASON, or any of their first three albums. Nevertheless, I am damn glad to have Death Angel still around and kicking out outstanding music. Despite that this album does not equal past efforts, and neither will probably any future efforts, this is still a highly listenable and recommended album.
Track Listing

01. Relentless Revolution

02. Claws In So Deep

03. Truce

04. Into The Arms Of Righteous Anger

05. River Of Rapture

06. Absence Of Light

07. This Hate

08. Death Of The Meek

09. Opponents At Sides

10. I Chose The Sky

11. Volcanic

12. Where They Lay

Lineup

Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitars, backing vocals
Ted Aguilar – guitars
Damien Sisson – bass
Will Carroll – drums


Next review: » Death Angel - Sonic German Beatdown-Live In Germany (DVD)
Previous review: » Death Angel - Killing Season





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