Death Angel - _Killing Season_
(Nuclear Blast, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (
It's hard to believe that four years have gone by since Death Angel issued the trumpet call of what remains one of most stylish comebacks in the history of heavy metal. Since _The Art of Dying_ bulldozed its way through everything and everyone in its path, thrash has been enjoying something of a Rocky Balboa-like revival, and while it would be foolish to imply that the San Francisco quintet were entirely responsible for this, it would be equally cynical to argue that they didn't at the very least provide what was a flagging genre with a few much-needed shots of adrenaline.If _The Art of Dying_ helped inspire a fresh legion of shredders to strap-on their V-shape guitars, paint on a pair of jeans and blow the dust off their white Nikes, then _Killing Season_ reminds the young 'uns who the big dogs in the yard are. Retaining the punk attitude of previous releases, Death Angel circa 2008 is also a significantly matured and finespun beast. Tracks like "Dethroned" and "Lord of Hate" deliver ample evidence of this, as the buzz-saw riffs delve deeper on both a musical and creative level, showing off not only a band who have progressed significantly since we last encountered them, but one who isn't afraid to flout genre conventions either. There's more experimentation too; "God vs God" starts off with a solitary, effects-laden guitar that could easily have come out of the Killing Joke playbook, before bursting into a titanic chorus that sees Mark Osegueda deliver perhaps some of the finest vocal work of his career.Let's be honest, it's only going to be so long before the whole thrash resurrection becomes as redundant as a jockstrap in a bear-wrestling contest, but as long as it's spawning releases like this, you won't find me complaining.
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