Album of the Week 42-2013: Death Angel – The Dream Calls For Blood

Since Andy Galeon’s departure, I’ve had a double feeling about new Death Angel releases. Will Carroll is a marvellous Thrash drummer, but Galeon’s little Funk, Salsa and other non-Metal rhythms were part of what made Death Angel such a special band for me. Having said that, ‘The Dream Calls For Blood’ is an outstanding Thrash album. It contains some of Rob Cavestany’s most imaginative aggressive riffing and singer Mark Osegueda seems to have improved, like he does on every release. Although this album was created with the same group of people as ‘Relentless Retribution’ – including producer Jason Suecof – it’s much better.

Maybe I should stop looking at every Death Angel album as the rightful follow-up to the masterpiece that was ‘Act III’. ‘The Dream Calls For Blood’ is in itself one of the best Thrash albums I’ve heard since OverKill’s ‘Ironbound’ three and a half years ago. There’s the sincere aggression, the riffs that get your blood pumping and the precision that those riffs require. On the other hand, Cavestany is one of the most creative guitarists in the genre (the chorus riff of ‘Son Of The Morning’ has more notes than anyone would dare to grace a chorus with, save for maybe Jeff Loomis) and despite the lack of a trademark Death Angel ballad, his acoustic guitar work does remind you we’re dealing with the same band that recorded ‘Act III’ almost 25 years ago.

Another merit of this album as opposed to many Metal albums is that it’s good all the way through. In fact, some of the better songs are located near the end of the album. Especially when the band merges traditional Heavy Metal riffs with Thrash intensity, like they do on ‘Caster Of Shame’ and ‘Empty’, goosebumps as well as headbanging delight are guaranteed. In fact, the latter even features solo from all of the band and Suecof. Even Ted Aguilar, previously limited to rhythm guitar, and amazing bassist Damien Sisson provide awesome solos. Closing track ‘Territorial Instinct / Bloodlust’ is a mind blowing masterpiece of epic proportions.

The rest of the album is just about as good. ‘Left For Dead’, though complex, is a perfect moodsetter with its speedy aggression, ‘Fallen’ has a fantastic build-up in tension, ‘Succubus’ is a tad more doomy and has an enormous load of impressive leads, the intro to ‘Detonate’ is pure melodic bliss, ‘Execution / Don’t Save Me’ has one of Cavestany’s most awesome riffs so far (although the drums underneath don’t quite augment it as much as they should) and the title track is a vicious piece of Thrash that will most likely work very well in a live setting.

In the end, only the bonus cover of ‘Heaven And Hell’ should be approached with caution. The band did a good job and I love Osegueda, but he’s no Ronnie James Dio. The definitive version has already been recorded by Black Sabbath over three decades ago. Everything else forms a powerful Thrash record that should be heard – and loved – by any fan of the genre. Of course, I would loved to have heard a song like ‘Stagnant’, ‘Opponents At Sides’ or ‘A Room With A View’, but everything that is here, is some of the best Thrash recorded in a long time.

Recommended tracks: ‘Territorial Instinct / Bloodlust’, ‘Empty’, ‘Caster Of Shame’, ‘Left For Dead’

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