Death Angel Relentless Retribution

Death Angel Relentless Retribution
Many bands confuse "fast and heavy" with "good," thinking riffs relayed with forceful hyperactivity means they've nailed it. Compound that with a tendency to detune guitars in an effort to amplify girth and that's the majority of modern metal. Unfortunately, we end up with a muddled, indecipherable mess that sounds like the grey area between thrash and easily digestible heavy rock, such as Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God and so on. With their innate sense of intuition, blended with enviable musicality, formative Bay Area act Death Angel never before succumbed to those trends. It made many of their albums timelessly necessary, but not so much anymore. As Relentless Retribution proves, while the band are still clearly competent, something is lacking. The album is far from a stinker, but lacks that primal sparkle crucial to anything stamped with the Death Angel moniker. Sure, they get it right on some tunes: one of the best tracks they've ever penned, "Truce" is a rousing blast of screaming vocals combating louder guitars and incensed trade-off solos. When they nail it, they beat it into a bloody pulp. Here, however, that means sitting through a lot of so-so material fashioned after that noted "fast/heavy" mentality to get to the meat, which one would never have previously expected from them. Maybe it's the influx of non-related members, a difference of motivation with age and time or just simply trying something new. Either way, Relentless Retribution works, mostly thanks to vocalist Mark Osegueda's powerfully unique attack, but not without its share of inconsistencies. (Nuclear Blast)