Released By: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: Out Now!!
Genre: Thrash Metal
Mark Osegueda – Vocals
Rob Cavestany – Guitar
Ted Aguilar – Guitar
Damien Sisson – Bass
Will Carroll – Drums
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
2013 has been a surprisingly strong year for thrash, and as someone who typically likes but doesn’t love the genre, I’ve been quite impressed by several thrash albums throughout the year. Well, the newest addition to that list is The Dream Calls For Blood, the seventh full length release from American thrashers Death Angel, who have been around since the early 80’s but took a long break starting in the 90’s before returning with The Art Of Dying in 2004. If anything, this album may have just become my favorite thrash album of the year, with its mix of awesome riffs, speed and complex songwriting.
The most important thing in any thrash album is the riffs, and whether or not they’re capable of making you flail your head around like an idiot. In that regard, Death Angel have certainly delivered everything you’d expect. But they do much better than that, because the songs aren’t just heavy and fast, they’re also complex and rather deep, with plenty of tempo changes and some very technical playing throughout. Even the more straight-forward opener Left For Dead gets fairly complex in the second half and it’s probably the simplest song on the album. Perhaps more importantly, even on the most complicated songs they never go overboard and the songs are all very memorable, though some take more listens to fully open up.
Mark Osegueda is an interesting vocalist, in that if this was a different genre, specifically something a bit more melodic, his tone would almost certainly drive me crazy to the point where I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the music, but because this is a thrash album his style works perfectly. He specializes in a fairly high pitched style of thrash screams, and he has a pretty damn irritating tone, even for as thrash vocalist, but somehow he sounds great when combined with the music. He occasional dials it back a bit, like on the chorus of Fallen, or on the closing track, but for the most part he sounds incredibly angry.
Death Angel fire right out of the gates on this one with the very energetic and fast-paced opener Left For Dead and it’s catchy chorus. Up next is probably my favorite on the album, Son Of The Morning, which has some very offbeat rhythms and perhaps the most complex arrangements on the entire album, along with a particularly fiery vocal performance. Fallen is quite interesting as well, with the aforementioned calmer vocals in the chorus, but the highlight is in the second half which sounds very reminiscent of early Metallica, but in the best way possible.
Another interesting aspect of the album is how well the band manages to incorporate some slower, atmospheric sections without ever resorting to balladry or without even having to soften their music up a whole lot. The best example of this is Succubus, a slow and crushing song which starts out aggressive but quickly calms down and turns into something much darker and more sinister. The musicianship is quite sick on this particular song, as it is throughout the whole album. While the majority of the album is fairly fast-paced and full of unexpected tempo changes, I actually find the handles the slower sections quite well and this is once again illustrated on the closing track Territorial Instincts / Bloodlust, which has a long and calm build up, before turning into another very dark and atmospheric song, with one section being the closest this album comes to having clean vocals.
Overall The Dream Calls For Blood is an excellent album, and perhaps my favorite thrash album of the year. Fans of the genre and of any previous albums by Death Angel are highly recommended to give this a listen.
Written by Travis