Death Angel – ‘Relentless Retribution’, Nuclear Blast; 2010

With the thrash revival that’s been going on lately, it shouldn’t be a surprise to say that the sixth studio album from American band Death Angel couldn’t have come at a relatively better time. Although it’s no longer the ’80’s and their line-up has changed and aged since then, it seems so right to applaud the group for churning out what feels like a good, solid effort of modern thrash metal. Since the genre has transformed itself since the advent of grunge in the last century, so it makes sense that it will become privy to high level production and outside influences such as groove metal or even modern rock.

Throughout the album, Death Angel hammer the audience with frantically fast shredding, heavy riffs and thoroughly passionate aggression – the latter of which earns them well-made comparisons to the earlier and grander years of thrash heavyweights Slayer and Metallica. True, there is a considerable wearing down of their original energy and anger, due to the fact that the band are no longer the same spring chickens that many appear to remember them as. Yet regardless, it’s unfair to assume that Death Angel don’t have any of said energy left; for even in a moment of acoustic experimentation which can be heard on second track ‘Claws In So Deep‘ they continue on the intensity and speed of their respective genre. It’s just that in this case, it comes across as a very professionally executed example of their devotion to music.

Despite this, there are also moments when the quintet’s experimentation looks to produce some questionable results on this particular LP. Namely these are present in the form of later songs ‘Opponents At Sides‘ and ‘Volcanic‘ for the simple reason that they feel very much out of place on the record since they dip into the territories of ’90’s mainstream rock and acoustic ballads. Not to say that these tracks are necessarily bad, but perhaps it would have been a wiser decision to have saved them as b-sides for a single release. That said, they don’t actually take away anything from ‘Relentless Retribution‘; just as they don’t really add anything to it either. There are plenty of other songs here, that come off as being much stronger in output and performance; not to mention deliver a fair dose of Death Angel‘s new incarnation for the twenty-first century.



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