After an ominous intro, “Left For Dead” launches into a torrent straight out of ‘80s Slayer, complete with a searing solo from lead axe-man Rob Cavestany, before closing out masterfully with the same ominous intro track.
This segues into ”Son of the Morning”, a furious tempest of scathing riffs and titanic grooves brewing under the tenacious sneers of Mark Osegueda, whose voice is, as always, absolutely perfect for thrash. Cavestany again acts as a color commentator with a squalling solo to punctuate this barnburner of a song.
Kickstarted by a positively pummeling drum fill, Death Angel then charges into a storm of jackhammer riffs alternating with screaming leads, before launching into a downright catchy chorus, something Death Angel have truly mastered since their reunion. This accompanies some classic and necessary gang shouts, and another epic, labyrinthine solo from Cavestany. Drummer Will Carroll provides yet another powerful tom roll to move the band into a final chorus that is bound to stay in your head the rest of the day.
Badly produced (and frankly unnecessary) squeal aside, the title track – and first to debut on Death Angel’s website a few weeks ago – starts off with a massive sledgehammer riff, replete with the reappearance of some effective gang vocals, before descending into a tornado of guitar shredding. This transitions into one of the slower and more evocative solos on the record, though the guys are sure to throw in a shred-tastic solo or three for the faithful as well. The track closes on one more megalithic chorus, with Osegueda closing it out with an impressive Angel-Of-Death scream.
“Succubus” comes in chugging like a freight train, laser-focused on its destination and determined to slay anything that may lie in its path. The dissonant guitars that ring throughout the chorus simply don’t land on their feet – dissonance just doesn’t suit Death Angel as well as it does other bands. That being said, Osegueda and Carroll manage to keep the track tight, with some ferocious sneers and punchy blasts, respectively. The band also snakes around the all-too-frequent chorus with another great solo and a hard-charging bridge, pitifully brief though it may be.
“Execution/Don’t Save Me” starts with a heartfelt and evocative acoustic/electric guitar combination, though the calm doesn’t last long before the band brings the thrash back and serves up another dish of blazing riffs, chant-worthy yells, and sizzling solos, as they get intriguingly close to sounding like classic Judas Priest. It certainly leaves you wanting more.
One of two tracks to debut thus far, “Caster of Shame” is perhaps the most recognizable song on this album; it could have fit right in, and undoubtedly stood out, on any of their past releases. If you aren’t hemorrhaging from all the vicious headbanging you’ll do in this song, especially after the chorus and during the solo, you may want to get you head checked, ‘cause something must be wrong up there.
“Detonate” opens with a militant, but muffled drumbeat, bringing to mind the drummer boys of wars past, with a guitar line to mourn the fallen. Naturally, this soon launches into more thrashy thrash, because this is Death Angel, and Death Angel plays THRASH METAL. The band does implement a very black metal-esque riff in the verse; variety’s the spice of life, y’know?
“Empty” kicks in with a bevy of supremely mosh-worthy riffs, though those riffs are also expertly able to carry wordless messages of decimation, desolation, and destruction for the attentive listener, to go along with the vicious rasps of Osegueda. The storytelling quality of these riffs and solos is something I haven’t seen all too often from Death Angel, but it really provides an interesting variation to the album as a whole. Or you could bypass all that and just mosh. It’s completely up to you.
The final track, “Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust” Starts off with an ominous and weighty acoustic lead-in, before opening into a soundscape that sees Death Angel at their most epic and expansive, with it’s extended riff lines, cinematic arrangement, and ethereally morose eulogies in the form of some fantastic solos. This moves into the song’s final part, in which the tempo slowly escalates until it hits one of the album’s highest peaks, ending right at the summit of the listener’s metallic euphoria.
Death Angel have turned in yet another strong album with <i>The Dream Calls For Blood</i>, largely sticking with, and excelling, at what they know best, yet they throw in a couple of experiments to spice it up and provide the album with a little identity. Remarkably, almost all of these experiments work magnificently, a sign of a veteran band that knows exactly what they’re doing. Pick up a copy of this album if you know what’s good for you, or better yet, if you’re a Californian, buy a ticket to one of their record release shows and get both this fantastic album and a great live show (the unbelievable lineup also includes 3 Inches of Blood, Battlecross, Revocation, and Diamond Plate). ‘Cause these guys are still white hot, even 30 years in.