Still featuring only two original members in the form of the screeching Mark Osegueda and fret wizard Rob Cavestany, don't let that dissuade you from checking out DEATH ANGEL's seventh studio album, "The Dream Calls for Blood". Whether you consider "The Ultra-Violence", "Act III" or "The Art of Dying" the definitive DEATH ANGEL album, consider "The Dream Calls for Blood" one of the finest albums in the thrash legends' repertoire.
Almost nobody could've predicted DEATH ANGEL would bounce back so strong after briefly disbanding following the roundabout chain of events surrounding "Act III". Yet here Osegueda and Cavestany find themselves following 2010's "Relentless Retribution", which was met with both favor and criticism. Still in the fold with them are rhythm guitarist Ted Aguilar, bassist Damien Sisson and drummer Will "Beastman" Carroll. While echoes of the Pepa brothers and Andy Galeon are still uttered amongst longtime thrash clans, there should be no reason they nor DEATH ANGEL's newer fans won't come out of "The Dream Calls for Blood" feeling like the real deal's clubbed them upside the head.
One of the overall fastest albums bearing the DEATH ANGEL brand, "The Dream Calls for Blood" is a robust, near-perfect harbinger of thrash. A large part of it has to do with Aguilar, Sisson and Carroll's capacity to keep up with Rob Cavestany's tireless and blurry shredding. The rest of it is sheer willpower by Osegueda and Cavestany to live up to the standards of a long-ago family of youngsters that defied numerous odds. The result is an electrifying performance by DEATH ANGEL 2013 in a full frontal performance once again produced by the always-in-demand Jason Suecof.
The temptation to parallel "The Dream Calls for Blood" to "The Ultra-Violence" is irresistible, particularly when you consider DEATH ANGEL recently performed the latter album in full on tour as a mark of its 25th anniversary. By default, the energy levels demanded to recreate that renowned slab was bound to spill its hyperactive seeds into "The Dream Calls for Blood".
With far more finesse but no less speed, this album rolls with a vengeance on the inescapable velocity of "Left for Dead", "Empty", "Son of the Morning", "Caster of Shame" and "Fallen". Even the scorching finale to "Detonate" is slammed to the hilt with speed, articulation and Mark Osegueda peeling off a piercing falsetto in the final seconds. He then sings a polyrhythmic chorus that lays straightforward yet perfectly linear to the pummeling thrash of the concluding stanza of "Execution/Don't Save Me".
Rob Cavestany's dizzying solos on "Fallen", "Left for Dead", "Caster of Shame", "Succubus" and "Execution/Don't Save Me" are filled with at least twenty notes dropped per second. The spectacular outro to "Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust" flares with Cavestany's electric magma. Damien Sisson plays follow the leader with ease on "Caster of Shame", no matter how often Cavestany threatens to bust loose from him. Sisson may be one of metal's immediate unsung heroes on bass, he's that freaking good on this album.
Mark Osegueda, who took his fair share of ridicule in DEATH ANGEL's formative years, couldn't be working at a higher level these days. His confidence in hardly in dispute and he's as much a force on "The Dream Calls for Blood" as anyone in this lineup. For apparent fun, he even changes his vocal pitch on "Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust" where he comes off, of all people, Stephen Pearcy.
Like OVERKILL's been long riding with two founding members and still retaining more than just their original fan base, DEATH ANGEL stands tall with two-fifths of the inaugural flock on "The Dream Calls for Blood". Every crevice of this album is massive, even when riding mid-tempo on "Detonate" before its blazing finish. "The Dream Calls for Blood" is simply tremendous.