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ALBUM REVIEW: The Evil Divide – Death Angel

Californian thrash metal band DEATH ANGEL are back with their eighth studio album, The Evil Divide. The band have impacted the thrash scene since their beginnings and taken metal by storm with their previous releases, will the new album match up and continue their legacy as one of the most influential bands in the genre?

Opening up The Evil Divide is The Moth, the song begins with a slightly more laid back approach with riffs, catchy but almost sensible – then The Moth officially kicks in. The song itself is hard-hitting, fast and fuelled with stunning riffs and the overpowering feeling to make you just lose control, this being said, as an opening track it isn’t as strong as it could have been. It’s catchy and it certainly grabs your attention but there is something that feels as though it’s missing.

Having said that, DEATH ANGEL kick straight back into to full force with Cause for Alarm, it goes straight back into a full-on thrash feel, the thing that lacked from The Moth. The song in itself gives a nostalgic feeling, back to pre-break-up DEATH ANGEL. It’s certainly fast, the vocals are sat right in that place between chaotic and full of fury. As The Evil Divide hits Lost, it reverts a little further back in terms of chaos that was in Cause for Alarm. This doesn’t necessarily make it a bad track, the style in which it is executed is excellent, especially as to how Rob Cavestany hits superb highs and the solo just oozes with emotion and has it hit home.

Once again, the chaos continues with Father of Lies, up to this point it was clear that The Evil Divide was a little broken up in terms of arranging the placement of their tracks. Father of Lies is straight up exactly what Cause for Alarm was, it’s hectic and it’s pure thrash, The Moth and Lost almost appear to be fillers at this point, once again not always a bad thing but it makes it a little harder to maintain attention. One of the biggest elements that already makes the album stand out impeccably is the guitar solos, as always DEATH ANGEL have pulled out some incredible riffs and some fantastic solos but on this album, they are just simply flawless and no matter on which direction each song takes, they follow suit and fit superbly.

As said previously, the previous few songs on the album have been a little misjudged with their placements but after Father of Lies, there is no concern at all. Hell to Pay is exactly what is being given on this album, it is a perfect description on just how out of control DEATH ANGEL are musically, the perfect prescription needed to create a banger of a thrash record.

It Can’t Be This and Hatred United, United Hate are yet again perfect examples of why DEATH ANGEL are one of the biggest influences in the thrash metal genre. The songs are straight up gut-wrenching and on the attack, once again the solos really push the songs into masterpieces. From these songs onwards, DEATH ANGEL open up into one of the best ways to finish a thrash metal album, they are chaotic anthems that would just erupt live crowds into dozens of pits and lines of head-bangers frantically losing control. As Let the Pieces Fall closes The Evil Divide, it is obviously noted that the album is possibly their best since Act III.

Whilst The Evil Divide had a bit of a shaky start in terms of The Moth and Lost, the rest of the album has been driven with brute force and impeccable talent. The work from each individual band member has been the best it has been in a long while and to let the shaky start at the beginning affect just how brilliant the album is would be a shame, the improvements and the journey that DEATH ANGEL have taken us on from start to finish have been never-ending moments of sheer madness and one heck of a thrash party. What The Evil Divide gave us was straight up, classic DEATH ANGEL and that is just what everyone wants.

Rating: 8/10

Death Angel

The Evil Divide is out May 27 via Nuclear Blast

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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.