Death Angel - Killing Season (Nuclear Blast Records) - Back
Death Angel; the mere mention of their name causes me to relive high school hallway conversations about which songs Headbanger's Ball had showcased on the Triple Thrash Threat over the weekend. Of course that was a long time ago, almost two decades. After roughly 15 years of dormancy, Death Angel returned in 2004 with "The Art Of Dying". "The Art Of Dying" was a solid album, but one that lacked focus from song to song and gave the appearance of a band struggling to find their identity in a scene that was vastly different than when they had last been active.

With "Killing Season", Death Angel take a big step back towards the classic bay area thrash that these guys were known for in their early years. Not only that, but they do a fine job of capturing the vibe of that bygone era. Thrash in the late 80's had a fun kind of energy to it that is often lost to the darker more serious styles of metal that dominate the underground today. "Killing Season", does a great job of capitalizing on that elusive intangible quality.

After a brief acoustic intro, "Killing Season" slams into gear and takes off with two blistering up-tempo thrash anthems, “Lord of Hate” and “Sonic Beatdown”. Over the course of the next nine tracks Death Angel treats us to a variety show of different influences. Some tracks leaning more heavily on a mid-paced groove, while others, like “Carnival Justice” and “Steal the Crown”, display a prominent punk rock influence. Of course, these are all elements that were vital to thrash in it's heyday, and combining them with Mark Osegueda's unmistakable lead vocals (and a heavy dose of gang vocals) gives "Killing Season" an authenticity that is lacking from many of today's thrash albums.

Everything just falls into place perfectly on this album, and it should really strike a chord with people who were there for thrash metal's first go round. "Killing Season" may not be the best thrash album that I have ever heard, but in all likelihood it will be the best one that I hear this year.


Reviewed By: Garett F.