DEATH ANGEL - Humanicide (Album)



Experiencing the origin of a genre and the uniqueness of many classic debut albums, my draw to Bay Area legends DEATH ANGEL was the 1987 teen angst masterpiece ‘The Ultra-Violence’. Prior to a ten-year hiatus there was a willingness to experiment, but it was widely recognised that neither ‘Frolic Through The Park’ or ‘Act III’ recaptured the same volatileaggression of their inaugural offering.

Fast forward to 2004, a first change in personnel and the release of ‘The Art Of Dying’, an ongoing progression of diverse musicality has transpired. This culminates to date with their ninth studio album ‘Humanicide’; a record pumped to the max with adrenaline, fuelled and technically exquisite 21stcentury thrash metal.

Returning to producer and friend Jason Suecof at Audiohammer Studios and mastered by Ted Jensen of Sterling Sound, the raw and visceral production of ‘Humanicide’ delivers inventive and complex old-school thrash for the modern day. 

The opening title track begins with melodic Maiden-esque twin guitars, before systematicallydragging you into a full-force rhythmic pummelling. Along with Mark Osegueda‘s lion’s roar vocal comes obligatory breakneck malevolence, killer riffs and fiery lead work which continues into ‘Divine Defector’.

Since their comeback, the songwriting prowess and consistency of DEATH ANGEL has been remarkable. 2016’s ‘The Evil Divide’ is a superb album consisting of compelling structures and dogged brutality, but ‘Humanicide’ is another step up. There are no fillers here but stand out tracks are the multi-layered and aptly titled ‘Aggressor’, and the mood shifting ‘Immortal Behated’; a combination of dark ethereal passages and bludgeoning metal, topped with a beautiful piano outro.

The thrash attack single ‘I Came For Blood’ is steeped in punk-infused NWOBHM, and there are plenty of other early metal influences interspersed throughout the record. Every track on the second half is ferocious, catchy and diverse; be it the lively ‘Alive And Screaming’ or the crowd rousing chant of ‘The Pack’. There’s even a sleazy rock ‘n’ roll feel to ‘Revelation Song’, confirming that the DEATH ANGEL formula remains far from predictive.

‘Humanicide’ is an uncompromising fourth album from an unchanged line-up. Controlled and precise, Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar provide phenomenal guitar work, backed by the thundering partnership of Damien Sisson (bass) and Will Carroll (drums). The vocal delivery from Mark Osegueda is a powerhouse of timeless versatility, with aggression personified during ‘Ghost Of Me’ and the rapid fire finale of ‘Of Rats and Men’.

A killer album from a band who have been banging out thrashers for nearly four decades; DEATH ANGEL may be veterans in their field, but they remain hungry and strive for originality, effortlessly achieved with ‘Humanicide’.

Death Angel are:

Mark Osegueda - Vocals

Rob Cavestany - Guitar

Ted Aguilar - Guitar

Damien Sisson - Bass

Will Carroll - Drums