"Killing Season" (Nuclear Blast; 2008)

Reviewed by Metal Mark

When people talk about the current thrash revival they are normally referring to younger bands such as Municipal Waste, Merciless Death, Fueled by Fire and those acts that play a style that was at its peak twenty years ago. However, there are a number of veteran acts who formed back in the 80s who are still plying their craft and creating thrash today as well. 

Bay area act Death Angel cranked out three studio albums and a live one between '87 and '90 before folding. Then they reformed earlier this decade and delivered "The Art of Dying" back in 2004. Death Angel were a band that I always kind of rooted for back in the day because it always seemed like they touched on some moments, but never quite broke out. 

"Killing Season" is a rather bare bones thrash album that cuts straight to the heart of the matter and for the most part rips straight ahead. I think that works for them better than the majority of "The Art of Dying." They are not trying to build epic songs or blend genres but, at this point in their career, no one expects that. 

"Killing Season" isn't fancy yet it is appealing because Dark Angel just opens up and sprints forward as they pound, plow and pull their way through some fairly catchy pieces of thrash. A large part of the reason why this album is better than the efforts by most of the younger bands of today is because those bands are all trying to like sound someone else while Death Angel just sound like themselves. 

It did seem a little like most of the better tracks were toward the beginning, but it's far more even than some of their other albums. Overall, "Killing Season" does enough to make me take notice and, after "Act 3," this is probably Death Angel's second best album.

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"The Art of Dying" (Nuclear Blast; 2004)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

After a fourteen year hiatus, pioneer Bay Area thrash metal outfit Death Angel have returned with a scorching new disc, proving that you can indeed come home again. 

After a few failed attempts with other projects, four-fifths of the original lineup have reconvened on the scene, creating a 12-track album loaded with the kind of versatility and power that had critics and fans alike enamored from the band's beginnings. From the old school thrash metal vibe of "Thicker Than Blood" to the Black Sabbath stoner groove of "The Devil Incarnate," Death Angel exhibit no loss of strength, whipping out churning riffs and walloping guitar solos that will have metalheads pumping their fists in unison. 

Blending in the obvious Bay Area metal influences with touches of punk rock fury ("Land of Blood"), acoustic beauty ("Word to the Wise"), and the technical excellence that made such albums as "Act III" metal classics, "The Art of Dying" triumphantly marks the return of Death Angel. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2008 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2022 15:00:07 -0400.