Rating:
7.0
Suicidal Angels - Divide And Conquer
10 January 2014


01. Marching Over Blood
02. Seed Of Evil
03. Divide And Conquer
04. Control The Twisted Mind
05. In The Grave
06. Terror Is My Scream
07. Pit Of Snakes
08. Kneel To The Gun
09. Lost Dignity
10. White Wizard


By now, I'm sure many of you have long been sick of this whole thrash revivalist thing. I don't blame you, as much as I love some popular offenders; these younger bands are more bent on re-writing the standard albums than the bands who wrote them in the first place. If modern thrash isn't your scene, feel free to keep scrolling.

If you hadn't already guessed, Divide And Conquer is stuffed with high-speed riffing, high-speed drumming, and high-speed soloing - thrash, just like mom used to make (if your mom was Gary Holt). All of this gets stretched out a bit too much, but that's why this is another cookie-cutter new-age thrash album and not an unexpected masterpiece. To set the record straight before I continue, Divide And Conquer is enjoyable, if you can handle bland-ish thrash; it is simply nothing more. It doesn't suck, basically.

"Seed Of Evil" sounds like a lost track from …And Justice For All, with just a dash of Sodom and early-90s Megadeth for that extra kick. "Control The Twisted Mind" is largely Kreator-esque, with some Testament thrown in. And so the rest of the album unfolds. The old classics laid down a blueprint; Suicidal Angels follow it to a T. All of your old favorites lurk just around the corner.

By the third song, the jig is thoroughly up. No bones about it, Divide And Conquer is yet another repeat of a repeat of a repeat. It is impossible to begrudge them their hero worship during the strongest tracks, but on an album with as many pitfalls as peaks, the act wears thin. The album is by no means a bad one, and every now and again a grey wall of thrash in the background serves the listener's purposes just as well as Coma Of Souls or Practice What You Preach. Still, some people ("psychos," let's call them) enjoy a bit of variety in their music, and if that be yer hankerin' ye might get thyself elsewhere and indulge in some Voivod or something.

So maybe Suicidal Angels aren't bringing anything special or new to the table, which is something you could say about 90% of 21st-century thrash bands. You could hand the title track to any Municipal Waste or Warbringer right off the street and chances are it wouldn't sound much different. That doesn't necessarily make Divide And Conquer a waste of time, because there are a couple of noteworthy tracks, and it never hurts to have a little more thrash in your life. Know, however, that if you decide not to pull up a toadstool and wonder at the wisdom of Suicidal Angels, you will not sacrifice much.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Production: 8


Band profile: Suicidal Angels
Album: Divide And Conquer


 



Written on 19.03.2014 by
ScreamingSteelUS
I'm only in this for the money, fame, glory, power, and personal satisfaction.

In my spare time, I fight dragon-pig-C.H.U.D.s in space.

I feel obligated to use up all of my allotted space, so... nah, I'm out of stuff to say.
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deadone - 19.03.2014 at 23:41  
I totally agree with this review.

Like a lot of modern Thrash, I'd call this completely superfluous.

A great example of "why seek out a more modern clone, when the older bands did it so much better 20+ years ago."
SuicidalCyco - 20.03.2014 at 02:10  
I'll definitely check it out. I like thrash new and old.
R'Vannith - 20.03.2014 at 06:00  
I guess some of the thrash that falls under the "revivalist" thing has a certain negative stigma attached to it; that it's all rehash and little else. Some of it is just really fun, straightforward metal, and generally written well enough and performed well enough to be able to carry a likeness to the older bands that they're drawing inspiration from. After all, I think it needs to be considered that it isn't exactly easy to copy the greats in such a way that you manage to sound like them, or deliver an equivalent or somewhere near equivalent level of musicianship and song writing, as unoriginal as it may be.

That's why we like the oldies in the first place, isn't it? Cuz they could deliver catchy riffs and whatnot. It's not as if these newbies can't do the same, they just tend to do it in less of their own way and pay homage to those who did it ages ago. "This is cool and all but I've already heard this" kind of stuff. And the oldies weren't necessarily carrying an unimpeachable level of performance either; the newbies can be just as energetic and strong performers as the oldies. Just not as originally creative, in most cases. In a prevailing number of cases, hence that negative stigma of the whole "revivalist" thing, trying to reinvigorate the genre without presenting anything all that new, even if bands do draw influence from a number of older outfits and bring them under the one sound. Just makes it more "eclectically" unoriginal, if that makes sense.

Thing is most bands don't manage this equivalent quality of sound or energy or cool riffs etc. It sounds like what your older bands were putting out in their prime, just nowhere near as exciting because it turns out to be "cookie-cutter stuff", as you say. Originality is a huge burden on thrash these days, and I'm just stating the obvious there. From your review it seems like this will be more "well performed but unoriginal possibly to the point that it makes it bland and somewhat tiresome" kind of stuff. Depends on how much of a thrash diehard you are I suppose. Thanks for the heads up.

Also, pardon the wall of text, your review just got me thinking about the "thrash revivalist thing" you're talking about.
ScreamingSteelUS - 20.03.2014 at 06:23  
Written by R'Vannith on 20.03.2014 at 06:00

Things

I couldn't have said it better myself.
deadone - 20.03.2014 at 06:59  
Written by R'Vannith on 20.03.2014 at 06:00


That's why we like the oldies in the first place, isn't it? Cuz they could deliver catchy riffs and whatnot. It's not as if these newbies can't do the same



Actually I don't think the newbies are anywhere as good at song writing. A collection of riffs doesn't make a good song.

The songs written by the newbies are often faceless and unmemorable.


And bare in mind some of the newbies now have up to 4 albums to their name, so they should've developed their own style and reasonable song writing ability.


Instead even the relatively primitive debuts of 1980s bands have far better written songs than the new ones in terms of memorable composition.



I think the issue is modern Thrash doesn't necessarily attract the cream of the crop in terms of musicians anymore.

The premise is simple: the greater number of musicians playing a genre means greater probability of some excellent ones joining and writing some truly memorable stuff.


In the 1980s Thrash was the number 1 metal genre and most metal musicians cut their teeth on it, even if they went on to developing other genres in the later 1980s/early 1990s.


Today Thrash is one of many subgenres jostling for musicians. And like most of Death Metal, it's no longer a cutting edge genre nor will musicians necessarily cut their teeth on it. One is as likely to start on Black or Death or Prog or Sludge as they are to start with Thrash.
R'Vannith - 20.03.2014 at 14:44  
Written by deadone on 20.03.2014 at 06:59

post


I can see what you mean by "faceless." For the most part I don't think these thrash revivalist bands set out to identically replicate the oldies, but nor do they seem to go out of their way to avoid it. Possibly this stems from a deficiency among the newbies in their song writing creativity, so their tunes end up sounding similar to what they imagine a good piece of thrash sounds like, without employing anything of their own which stands out significantly enough amongst the "hero worship" going on, so to speak.

Originality, of course, is always something of an issue to varied degrees across all genres, not just in the case of thrash. Though in this context, thrash "revivalist" stuff that is, it seems to be more pronounced and detrimental to the enjoyment of it all. But that's if you take value in that sort of thing, some thrash fans could probably care less about that, and take quality written thrash where they find it, which I'm certain isn't restricted to simply the "oldies."

Although I think it's this inability amongst new bands to present a new "face" which makes their music unmemorable, not so much an inability to write songs. So I can't agree that these bands are entirely incapable of writing good thrash (though I don't think you're suggesting that either, from what you're saying), otherwise what we are presented with would come off as a total mess and in reality would fail to actually sound similar to the music which people claim it so closely bears a resemblance. There has to be some level of quality to pull off a sound which can be compared to those of older acts.

Your premise is interesting, I can't really add anything to it or deny that it appears to be logical. Although I will say that the notion of a thrash "revivalist" thing suggests to me that your idea becomes less applicable today than it was some years back, perhaps. People, musicians being the main proponents obviously, are trying to revive the genre, and so the attraction for talented musicians (or musicians in learning) to play the genre may be more attractive/rewarding these days than perhaps it was before. It fluctuates, and changes based on what's happening in a scene by scene context. Generally speaking the 80's may have been a more beneficial time to be a thrash metal musician, when it was so highly favoured. As you say, now there are more subgenres, not necessarily competing but attracting the talent required to play them. So I guess less attention may be given to thrash, in comparison to other genres, based on what's more popular and what's not. But thrash still makes up a major part of metal, I don't think there's any denying that, regardless of personal perspective as to whether the "revivalist" part of it is all just rehashed stuff. I think many talented musicians are still keen to play thrash.
Coolingsrock - 20.03.2014 at 17:49  
Perfect review! Good Thrash album but sounds like they're using the old formula time and time again. Still find kneel to the gun a great song. Not a bad album in anyway...just sounds like we heard it all before.
ScreamingSteelUS - 20.03.2014 at 18:21  
Written by deadone on 20.03.2014 at 06:59

And bare in mind some of the newbies now have up to 4 albums to their name, so they should've developed their own style and reasonable song writing ability.

This really surprised me. When I was writing the review, I realized that Suicidal Angels formed in 2001 and this is actually their fifth album, so I wasn't sure how justified I would be in referring to them as "newcomers" or part of this younger generation of thrash bands. 13 years is a long time, after all. But of course Toxic Holocaust formed in 1999, Municipal Waste formed in 2000, Gama Bomb in 2002, Warbringer, Evile, and Havok in 2004, Bonded by Blood and Lazarus A.D. in 2005, etc., and they all have three, four, five albums to their names. The fact that they have been around for so long already and put out so much material makes it all the more damning that they are still writing the same stuff. Some of those bands do have their own styles at this point (I'm just using them as examples for how old this movement is), but others have not.
deadone - 21.03.2014 at 00:47  
Written by R'Vannith on 20.03.2014 at 14:44


Very well written post


The interesting thing is the old guys can still pull off memorable Thrash - Overkill, Kreator, Death Angel and Testament are great examples of this. Many people would also put Exodus in here (but I've only ever liked their first album so can't comment).

Hence the scope is there for memorable modern Thrash.



I think you're right about the younger guys playing what they imagine to be good thrash. Herein lies the problem as they're writing music according to a set of rules (in this case Thrash 101).

Most of the old guys didn't do this - they simply wrote what they felt like writing to some degree. Even in the 2nd/3rd tier bands weren't afraid to try something different even if it didn't fit the "Thrash mold" - e.g. Artillery, Death Angel, Force Entry, Suicidal Tendencies, Overkill, Nuclear Assault, Sacred Reich, Tourniquet, Coroner, Sepultura etc.

In fact the old guys evolved Thrash from the primitive NWOBMH-esque stuff of 1983 to the commercial/technical/groove/crossover Thrash of the late 80s and early 90s.

And they helped spawn Grindcore and Death Metal along the way and many bands crossed over into these e.g. Possessed, Atheist and Hellbastard.



The Thrash revivalists generally stick to the 1986-88 period and then seem to focus only on those definitive moments of Thrash history without adding anything different to the mix.

That's why they sound so 3rd or worse tier. In fact they sound like the dreggier moments of the Combat and Noise Recprds rosters of that period.

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