Death Angel - 'Relentless Revolution' (Nuclear Blast) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by David Whistance   
Thursday, 12 August 2010 06:00

Death_Angel_-_Relentless_Retribution_artworkBack in May of this year I was stood in London's Islington Academy patiently awaiting the appearance of one of my favourite metal bands of recent years, Nevermore. But before the Seattle metallers would take to the stage, the audience would be treated to a cracking support set from original Californian thrashers Death Angel.


Now I have to hold my hands up and admit that whilst I'm fully aware of Death Angel musically, my knowledge of the band's history is fairly limited. I did remember the band having an extremely young and talented drummer and releasing an acclaimed debut album called 'The Ultra-Violence'. Album number three saw them signed to Geffen and releasing the acclaimed 'Act III', an album that provoked mixed reactions from the thrash fraternity, with the band being labelled "sell outs" by some quarters, whilst others hailed it as a "classic".  Personally I'd opt for the latter.


The other memory I have of Death Angel is when a friend of mine misjudged a stage dive at their Newport Centre gig resulting in a broken not go into that!


When the band took to the stage that night in Islington, it took me totally by surprise, as standing on stage wasn't a tired old band going through the motions, no, here stood a band, fresh, vibrant and here to rock the capital to its foundations. During the gig the band gave us a brief taster of their then forthcoming album, and if what they had recorded sounded as good as it did that night then we were in for a mighty treat.


So here I'm three months later with the band's latest album 'Relentless Revolution' in my hands, and it's time to rock. From the opening steam hammer riff to the precision drumming of the title track, I know this is going to be one "heavy" affair and in the words of the band themselves, "Join Us, Or Step Aside". My personal favourite on the album 'Claws In So Deep' is up next, a perhaps more varied track than the rest of the album featuring an incredible chorus along with a guest appearance from celebrated guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela. There's no time to wave the white flag as 'Truce' pummels you into submission, whilst across the twelve tracks that make up 'Relentless Revolution' the band sound animated and hungry for their metal, this is a band doing it for themselves as much as their fans.


Whilst we are treated to a feast of thrash within the grooves of 'Relentless Revolution' the band do throw in an odd curve ball for good measure, like 'Volcanic', a far slower, melodic affair, and to anybody who was planning a break on the Costa Del Sol last Spring, the word "volcanic" may not be a word that brings images of joy, but for this listener at least that's exactly what it does.


Death Angel may have experienced a hiatus of around a decade, having initially reformed purely as a one off experience in 2001 for a benefit show for Testament's Chuck Billy who was undergoing treatment for cancer. The band's decision to make the reformation a full time one after the ecstatic crowd reaction from that show is one we should all be truly grateful of. Now fast approaching a decade back together, if the band can release material as prodigious as 'Relentless Revolution' then let's hope they don't decide to leave us again anytime soon.


Although Death Angel may not be recognised as one of the "big four" of thrash they are certainly in the big ten and on the evidence of 'Relentless Revolution' alone long may they remain there!