It has been three years since we last saw the Bay Area thrash band last release Relentless Retribution and now with the two newest members fully initiated into the line-up, this is their fourth album since their 2001 reunion and their fourth on Nuclear Blast. Their sound hasn't really changed from their previous album and with the wolves now in the wilderness baying for blood, unlike last album's cover artwork with the lone wolf on the pile of bodies, I feel the artwork best represents Death Angel now.
The general state of all thrash metal bands presently, with so many alike to Death Angel that to me thrash metal is well and truly kicking. Even though it is 'just another label' that we stick to bands, I think that Dream Calls For Blood truly sums up thrash metal in one album. There have been many great and `classic' albums, and in today's stale music scene I'm looking for that one band to energize me every time I listen to their album. Enter Death Angel. Even the added quick review by Kirk Hammet on the sticker is like: "If Kirk likes it, then so do I!"
When I say that the "sound hasn't changed' I also mean the production as well. In fact, truth be told, I don't think there's much difference between the last album and this one if anything has changed at all; the only change I can think of is that the album is more streamlined, more concise and with a ton of energy going into it. What's good about a Death Angel album is you know what you're getting - there's no hesitation about the last album, if you're hesitating at all. With a few songs streamed through the official Death Angel website and if you've managed to have a sneaky listen, then I'm sure the songs you heard will have surprised you. Firstly, with the title-track stream available (along with a following lyric video on YouTube) and it is to-the-point rip-your-face-off tune, full of meaty licks and awesome vocals from Mark - whether you're already screaming "take my money" is another matter altogether. Secondly, another song "Son of the Morning" is available for stream and it's one of the more groovier songs from the album.
The Dream Calls for Blood is a fantastic album from start to finish. The opener - "Left For Dead" - starts off this album really well with its reverb guitar chords then soon opening up to a full-on thrash assault. Whilst the "Son of the Morning" offers up some groovier parts with reverb vocals of Mark. It's true that this album is (probably) the fastest album Death Angel have released since their début The Ultra Violence but by no means is it better than that album, as The Ultra Violence is an undeniable classic in its own right, however The Dream Calls for Blood is just another example of why Death Angel are very underrated as a band. Whilst I'm the topic of being `underrated,' over the years there has been some dispute by the fans over the Big 4 of Metallica (questionable), Slayer (yes damn right), Megadeth (Rust In Peace, anyone?) and Anthrax (no, just...no). Different fans have different opinions and there has been talk among them of forming another Big 4 with other thrash bands such as Exodus in there, as well as Death Angel.
The Dream Calls for Blood flows extremely well and you can hear how much effort Death Angel have put into this. With Jason Suecof once again at the helm a second time round he understands how this band works now and it is heard as every instrument is heard clearly throughout the album, and (for me) this is one of Mark's best performances. I always feel like I really sit with a Death Angel album as they have become one of my favourite bands over the years and so far my favourite tracks are 1, 4, 6, 8 and 10. The added `making of' DVD (if you choose to get this version) is about an hour-long, and it gives you some real insight to the album. The band explain about pretty much everything you'd want to know: from working with the same team again, right down to the artist (and depicting "wofly" again); to every musician on the album (even the added emphasis on Will's cymbals); even the working titles and how they wrote most of the music on tour, written by Rob. I would say go for this version as it comes in a cool digipack...but that's me.
Overall, The Dream Calls for Blood is an excellent juggernaut of thrash that I loved from the first moment I heard it. Whether you like the old Death Angel or the new reincarnated beast, at least give the album a listen to see what you think, but you already know how I feel so there's no need to keep on bashing you over the head. All I'm going to add further is that I know I'll be listening to this for some time.