Humanicide is Death Angel’s ninth album and fourth with the current line-up that’s been together for 10 years already. Going from strength to strength and losing absolutely none of their vitality over the years, this album is as fast and aggressive as anything they’ve released before, just far more polished owing to over 30 years of experience.
The album opens with the title track “Humanicide” and after a brief flowery intro, they let rip and get stuck straight into it. Mark Osegueda roars as Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar try drown out Will Carroll’s opening drum flurry as Damien Sisson fills in any space left with his bass. After the leads wash over you and the drumming gets faster and faster, you can still hear the bass popping in the background as the vocals come back to give you more.
Keeping it up-tempo, “Divine Defector” has Mark reaching for the high notes as the rapid drumming is awash with cymbal strikes to punctuate the many riff changes as the song progresses before coming to what feelings like a grinding halt as the slow choppy “Aggressor” uses a really old thrash feel for the chorus, but it’s the near acoustic bridge which is the outstanding piece in the song, just before the lead really kicks in.
And speaking of having an old feel, for some reason “I Came For Blood” has both a Judas Priest and Ultraviolence sensibility to the song, maybe it’s the constant lead and Mark’s very quick singing that does so.
Slow and beautiful, “Immortal Behated” may pick up the pace as it goes along, but it keeps returning to the long haunting sustained guitar notes that slide into the majestic lead that remains an undercurrent throughout the song, the final minute even includes a piano piece for the first time in their history.
Heading straight back into heavier and more frantic riff changes, “Alive and Screaming” is going to chorus to remember for live shows, without a doubt. And another song that’s going to be a crowd favourite with its howling chorus is “The Pack”.
The skip in the drum pattern for “Ghost of Me” gives it an interesting pause, which the guitars are also using to emphasise the rhythm.
Slowing down things once more, “Revelation Song” is more mid-tempoed and with that the vocals have a little more bite and room to move, as do the leads.
Other than just being a great title, “Of Rats and Men” has quick and ever changing riffs that allow the vocals to swing between belted out and crooned when required, which Mark is most certainly capable of.
My promo didn’t come with the bonus track “The Day I Walked Away”, but I’m sure I’ll get to hear it eventually.
If you’re not already a Death Angel fan, why the hell not? Either way, this album should certainly help make sure you are by the end of your first listen.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)