Death Angel - Relentless Retribution review
|Release date:||September 2010|
01. Relentless Revolution
02. Claws In So Deep
04. Into The Arms Of Righteous Anger
05. River Of Rapture
06. Absence Of Light
07. This Hate
08. Death Of The Meek
09. Opponents At Sides
10. I Chose The Sky
12. Where They Lay
If someone were to ask me for a modern thrash metal album that would be right up pretty much everyone's alley, my number one would be Relentless Retribution released by thrashers of the classic era Death Angel somewhere at the turn of the decade.
Since their reunion in the early 2000's, Death Angel have been delivering some pretty consistent groovy modern thrash, and this album continues in the same direction without sounding stale. The guitars combine the moments of super-distorted heaviness, epic leads and double harmonies quite well while the crisp production helps channel both aspects outstandingly. In a similar fashion Mark Osegueda manifests his vocal talent in full spectrum going from a very tense pissed-off screaming to clean passionate singing.
The songs themselves are quite non-repetitive: Relentless Retribution is not a case of samey chugging and mindless growling - it is quite obvious that a good deal of thinking was applied during the songwriting process. As with musicianship, the scope of expression is quite extensive. You'll find classic thrashers standing next to mid-paced hymn-like tunes, marches, and simply groovy catchy songs. And then there is one great, beautiful ballad: "Volcanic." In the unconventional department we've got "Claws In So Deep," which brought under its roof angry thrash riffs and solos with melodic singing in choruses, a somewhat metalcorish abrupt breakdown, and… a two minute acoustic outro by Rodrigo y Gabriela (which is great, but - with my deep respect and love for this duo - completely out of place).
Production deserves a separate paragraph. The band went for Jason Suecof after hearing his outputs with modern metalcore bands, and truth be told, he did an outstanding job, period. Jason made the record sound brutal and heavy and at the same time modern and clear, quite similar to Andy Sneap's excellent recording of Exodus' Exhibit B: The Human Condition. Besides that, Jason played a string of what are probably the best solos of the entire record on the song "Truce." Hell of a producer!
Generally, the material is well above the average quality, not always equally kicking ass but almost always deserving your attention. Yes, it would not be fair to say there are no two songs that sound the same; after repeated listens, one might get weary with some parts, but go try to make a thrash record without that occasional homogeneity. In the end, Relentless Retribution is a statement; a statement that some representatives of the classic American thrash scene still got life in them and can kick ass no worse than their apprentices.
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