Death Angel

The Dream Calls for Blood

Written by: EW on 19/11/2013 16:10:45

Like most of the big name thrash bands of the '80s to have continued through to, or reformed in, the past decade, I do not feel Death Angel have ever come close to matching their peak, which came with debut LP "The Ultra-Violence". In part that is due to the devastating brilliance of said 1987 record, but also down to their post-2001 reformation stuff being much too thrash-by-numbers to leave any real impact, but on "The Dream Calls for Blood" the evergreen Californians come back with a commendably renewed focus.

However, this has come partly at the expense of a collection of memorable and varied songs. "The Dream Calls for Blood" is most definitely still a thrash album but there is a meatier, chuggier aspect to the production of the rhythm section that is distinctly similar to recent Testament works and lends tunes like "Son of the Morning", "Caster of Shame" and the title track a tougher feel than I'm used to with DA. This change to a fuller sound has also caught vocalist Mark Osegueda in its traps. The usually rapacious and recognisable frontman feels blunted by his delivery here, as if he is trying too hard to match the power of the music resulting in his charisma being stifled in a performance that I am struggling to enjoy as much as historically. Given the precedent is of him being one of my favourite frontmen in metal this is a touch disappointing.

Musically speaking though, for the patch jacket wearing thrasher there is still plenty to enjoy here. Never does the tempo stagnate or fall into a morass of over-sentimentality; Death Angel have simply stuck to what they know best. Lead guitarist Rob Cavestany plays a large part in this as he brings a spirit of Kirk Hammett circa "Kill 'Em All" to the party with solos frequently bookending segments of tracks, elsewhere it is the chorus in a number of songs that remains the most notable aspect - "Succubus" and "Detonate" two examples of this.

Still though, after countless listens I still can't give myself over to "The Dream Calls for Blood". In part it is due to how easily it could be exchanged for Testament's latter works, or at a push, the efforts for Exodus, in what is an all-too-typical beefcake thrash production. Death Angel's commitment and energy in these conditions is not under question; the end product however just does not stoke the fires as was the case in days gone by.


Download: The Dream Calls for Blood, Son of the Morning
For The Fans Of: Testament, Metallica, Overkill
Listen: Facebook

Release date: 11.10.2013
Nuclear Blast Records

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