Death Angel - Killing Season
Nuclear Blast
Thrash Metal
11 songs (47'34)
Release year: 2008
Death Angel, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Marty
Death Angel continues with their "comeback" of sorts that began with The Art Of Dying in 2004, an album that was a the result of the band reforming after a supposed one-off appearance at a benefit for Testament vocalist Chuck Billy who was battling cancer at the time. These Bay Area thrash metal legends made quite an impact through the late 80's and into the early 1990's with albums like The Ultra-Violence, Frolic Through The Park and Act III. The Art Of Dying was a fine return to form and this brand new album Killing Season was the result of a collaboration with veteran producer Nick Raskulinecz who has had extensive production experience with bands like Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters and more recently, the Snakes and Arrows album by Rush. The story has it that Danko Jones, a long-time friend of Death Angel and who was working with Nick Raskulinecz, walked into the studio one day wearing a Death Angel hoodie to which Nick commented "Death!", grabbed a guitar and began playing Seemingly Endless Time from Death Angel's Act III album. Danko E-mailed the band, who were shopping around for a producer at the time and suggested that they contact Nick to see if he was interested. He was and after adjusting schedules, everything came together in the form of Killing Season.

Nick Raskulinecz has done a solid job in the production duties and trying to bring out the best in this band and in doing so, has infused a slightly more modern edge to their classic thrash metal sound. The album opens with two killer tracks in Lord Of Hate and Sonic Beatdown. Lord Of Hate carries more of a traditional heavy metal style and begins with an ominous acoustic intro before abruptly shifting gears to solid, driving and speedy heavy metal. The classic aggression is ever present as is a great gang style chorus. Sonic Beatdown gets back to the thrash with drop D fuelled chunky riffing with more speed and aggression topped of with some speedy lead guitar work by guitarist Rob Cavestany. Other album highlights include Buried Alive that once again uses chugging and heavy riffs mixed in with some very cool and abrupt tempo changes. Soulless sees Death Angel exploring more moody and atmospheric approaches in a track that is ominous, heavy and has a great sense of dynamics. Steal The Crown gets back to the more Anthrax style thrash with speed, attitude and more chunky riffs with the final track Resurrection Machine being more of a longer "epic" style track. Using everything from an acoustic guitar intro to chugging heavy riffs, this mid tempo track has great atmospheric interludes with tasteful lead guitar work and reminds me of older 70's Judas Priest when more progressive styles were found in their music.

I've mentioned the album highlights but for the rest of the album, it comes off sounding a bit same-ish and really substandard for this band. The sound quality is great but there's a severe lack of really solid riffs and most of the lead guitar work is average at best. One track, God vs God, is an attempt at fusing modern metal styles with the Death Angel sound and quite frankly, it just doesn't work. Overall, Killing Season is still a decent Death Angel album but falls a bit short of the previous album The Art Of Dying. I get the feeling that Nick Raskulinecz got the best that he could from these guys at the time but the problem is, they didn't bring enough solid material to the table and they had to make the best of what they had. There are still some great tracks but others just drift by without much of an impact at all. Still worth checking out for the fans but for others, they have done far better than this in the past.

Killing Songs :
Lord Of Hate, Sonic Beatdown, Buried Alive and Resurrection Machine
Marty quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Death Angel that we have reviewed:
Death Angel - The Dream Calls for Blood reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Death Angel - Relentless Retribution reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Death Angel - The Ultra-Violence reviewed by Aaron and quoted 88 / 100
Death Angel - The Art of Dying reviewed by Jeff and quoted 80 / 100
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