Death Angel – Humanicide Review

Having been deeply impressed with Death Angel’s modern material after seeing them live, I rushed out and bought myself a copy of their latest album, 2019’s Humanicide. I’ve loved the band’s original output for years, but hadn’t checked out as much of their post-reunion material as I could have.

Turns out, that might have been a bit of a mistake because this album absolutely rips. A succinct and perfectly formed 10 tracks of Thrash. Fucking. Metal. Every bit as good as the latest albums by their Bay Area compatriots Exodus and Testament. Better in fact than some of the reunion albums by other Bay Area bands like Forbidden and Heathen. Heck… better even than the newest albums by most of the Big Four.

Stylistically, there isn’t too much material that you could say would fit on any of the band’s first three albums, it isn’t the youthful meathead Thrash of The Ultraviolence, nor the diverse and off-kilter Thrash of Frolic Through The Park and it isn’t the experimental restrained Thrash majesty of Act III… it is however, utterly perfect modern Thrash.

Drummer Will Carrol throws in such bouncy and creative patterns when possible amongst the relentless pounding, all four limbs flailing with powerful control. Damien Sisson is one of the more interesting bassists at this level. The lead guitars are spectacular from Rob Cavestany, even more impressive than the ‘80s output. Rob and Teds riffs are chunky and aggressive. On top of the furious musical canvas, singer Mark Osegueda demonstrates a wide array of different vocal styles, from melodic, to deep, to high, to harsh and several mixtures somewhere in between. He has a knack for memorable vocal hooks and catchy vocal rhythms.

Highlights include the utterly perfect title track, which opens the record and could be used as a study aid for modern thrash, as well as the much more diverse ‘Aggressor’ which covers a range of tempos and styles and really lets the band showcase their immense musical prowess, as well as the catchiest song on the record, the punkier ‘I Came For Blood.’ That’s not to say its frontloaded either. There is no real filler or unnecessary material here. Everything is good.

I really enjoy Jaon Suecof’s production job here. It perfectly suits the style and direction of the music. Guitars up front, vocals slightly lower than average, and a lot of presence for the drums.

Overall; this is a magnificent album, from an underrated band. Each song is a rager, it sounds good, each musician is great and the record doesn’t outstay its welcome. I’ve just been absolutely pasting it for the last week in the car and at home, can’t go a day without it.  I really wish I’d gone in on it sooner.

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