There are plenty of bands with the Fallen Angels moniker and this US based act favours a thrash approach with this their third album but some five years since the release of the last one called “Engines Of Oppression”. The guitar sound that hits when the album starts is harsh but melodic on “The Hammers Blow” which sees a band playing towards the Bay Area style of thrash, clean cut and aggressive the album starts extremely well.
Initially I despised the snare drum sound, coming across like a child whacking a tin can it took some time for it to gel within the songs but as the album steps into “Nightmare Master” it nestles in very well and to some extent forgotten about as this band really knows how to pen a solo on guitar. Every song is peppered with breakneck leads that seem to duel at every available opportunity, something I find missing from twin guitar bands. Adding huge amounts of substance to the album are the vocals which are extremely good, clean yet possessing passion and a degree of hostility and it’s brilliant to hear a thrash band with decent vocals as far too often it’s just screaming for the sake of it. The opening harmonised lead on “Forsaken Existence” is steeped in 80s heavy metal traditions, supremely melodic before unleashing a mammoth double kick to add considerable density to the track.
Longer in duration “Fire At Eden’s Gate” has a semi acoustic like start with cymbal work and deft bass standing alongside the very soothing guitar. As expected the tune morphs into a riffing beast on the break with an accompanying cymbal smash like a starting gun. With tempo changes rife within the song it listens like a classic thrash tune from the 80s, showcasing considerable agility in all departments. Also following a slightly similar pattern to aforementioned song is “The Hour Of The Time”, which has a Metallica style, being chuggy but extremely uplifting due to the solo that is inserted. As the tune develops that Metallica style becomes more evident and contrasts starkly with “Mortis Ex Machina” which has a Death Angel vibe including the vocal style which is urgent and powerful. Picking out the deadwood from the glut of thrash bands filling the thrash metal genre around the world is not easy but you would not go wrong by checking out this Seattle band as they write clever songs with some brilliantly played leads that are a standout.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)