Once again Death Angel has put together a solid classic thrash release with their seventh album The Dream Calls For Blood. From start to finish the album is full of punishing thrash in the vein of acts like Slayer, Exodus and Overkill. The thing that sets this album apart and that has always set Death Angel apart from these other classic thrash acts is that they are not afraid to add additional elements to their music. On top of Kerry King screechy type lead riffs and solos, Death Angel takes inspiration from power metal and melodic metal with soaring solos and occasional harmonized guitar licks. The bass guitar is featured more prominently than typical thrash metal giving some of the tracks a slight Iron Maiden feel. The band sometimes even makes use of hardcore/crossover thrash chorused yelling. There are also some occasional grooves and heavier extreme metal guitar riffs thrown in.
All of this creates a very fast and heavy style throughout the entire album. The band only deviates from this break neck pace once and amazingly it still works and fits perfectly with the rest of the record. As usual the vocal work of Mark Osegueda is excellent as he can go from raspy low register vocals to high pitched screeches at the drop of a hat. The guitar riffs are excellent, well constructed and well played by Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar, and the drumming and heavily featured bass lines fit in perfectly making for many excellent song arrangements. There is really not much to dislike about this album.
The best tracks on the album include “Left For Dead”, “Son Of The Morning”, “The Dream Calls For Blood”, “Caster Of Shame”, “Detonate” and “Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust”. “Left For Dead” kicks things off with a very haunting opening that kicks into an extremely heavy and fast riff. Here the band adds in some of those chorused screams and a solid harmonized guitar solo. The tracks ends as hauntingly as it began. Things quickly move to “Son Of The Morning”. This song contains more higher register vocals that sound absolutely incredible along with another really heavy, blistering riff. It contains two different solos. One with a well done soaring guitar and the second is a traditional fast thrash solo.
“Caster Of Shame” comes in the latter half of the album and is easily one of its best straight forward classic thrash tracks. The lead guitar is excellent and the bass line is well done and very noticeable. “Detonate” follows this track with a slower opening that contains very cool guitar picking. It then dives into more of a mainstream style thrash riff that may remind you of Machine Head or early Trivium. The ending of the track along with the song “Empty” show off Osegueda’s best high pitched vocal performances of the entire album.
“Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust” is the last song on the album and it marks the one and only time that the band changes sound and pacing. Although the rest of the album is crazy fast and heavy, it works so well and is the perfect way to end the album. The opening has more great guitar picking that flows into slower paced, yet still very heavy guitars. The lead guitar overlay is amazing. The drumming from Will Carroll is wonderfully methodical and is probably his best performance on the album. Osegueda’s vocals are slightly lower than the rest of the songs, but the chorus vocals still contain his signature rasp. There are three solos that range from mid to fast tempo, along with excellent guitar harmonization. The song ends with a much faster classic thrash riff. The overall feel of the song reminded me very much of early 1990’s Megadeth.
The best track on the album is definitely the title track “The Dream Calls For Blood”. It easily has the heaviest and best guitar work with breakneck lead guitar and an excellent classic thrash solo. If you ever wanted to give someone an example of what true thrash is, this would be one track that should be played for them. It shows you everything that has made Death Angel one of the best and most consistent thrash bands in the last 25 years.
I mentioned above that the band will very occasionally mix in grooves in favor of the longer traditional thrash riffs. It only happens at two points on the album, “Fallen” and “Execution – Don’t Save Me”. Although the two tracks are still very good , it causes things to lose a bit of steam and seems a bit out of place. “Execution – Don’t Save Me” is the better of the two with it’s excellent acoustic open overlaid with soaring guitar. It then jumps into a really good thrash riff. This riff really should have been continued throughout the entire song, but unfortunately they instead decided to go to a much more pedestrian groove guitar riff. Other than these two small inconsistencies, there is really nothing at all to complain about.
If you are looking for an excellent, no frills true thrash album, The Dream Calls For Blood is it. It makes no excuses and kills it all the way through. There are plenty of contemporary thrash pretenders out there and there are even more classic acts that refuse to add additional elements to their music. Once again Death Angel is able to evolve just enough to keep from being stale, but not too much to where they totally lose their identity. Definitely make sure you get this one blasting as soon as possible. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.