"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Death Angel - "Killing Season" (CD)

Death Angel - "Killing Season" CD cover image

"Killing Season" track listing:

1. Lord of Hate
2. Sonic Beatdown
3. Dethroned
4. Carnival Justice
5. Buried Alive
6. Soulless
7. The Noose
8. When Worlds Collide
9. God vs God
10. Steal the Crown
11. Resurrection Machine

Reviewed by on February 27, 2008

"when you are used to hearing the crisp, clean guitars blaze through your Bose speakers, this album sounds like it’s reluctant to be played"

Death Angel’s new release, “Killing Season,” does more than contain over two decades of history in a band drunk on thrash. When the band came back with their release in 2004, I thought that it was going to be even more genius than what they had with “Act III,” which had been their best effort, all the way back in 1990, when I was five! Then “The Art of Dying” came out in 2004 and I fell in love. Everything was in perfect harmony: vocals, production, and creativity. So, there had been some curiosity about how the band would sound on their revitalized sophomore release.

“Killing Season” is completely different than “The Art of Dying,” with the major difference being a lack of creativity. They have been true to their natural thrash roots. However, lack of conformity really dates their sound. This album sounds more retro than “The Art of Dying” and the production doesn’t sound crisp and clean like it had been. It reminded me of how Overkill changed from “Killbox 13” to “Relix IV.” This is the same scenario. Sure the energy is there, sure the speed is there, and the vocals haven’t left the building. But what have left are creativity, production quality, and songwriting.

The creativity on this album is non-existent. The great riffs and catchy choruses of “The Art of Dying” album have been torn down to pretty much every song having no feeling of remembrance and no “out-there” guitar licks you can head-bang to while stuck in traffic. I was extremely disappointed hearing barely one or two good songs throughout the entire album. If you were to ask me in two months what songs they were, I would not be able to tell you. Considering what this band has done previously, this a huge upset.

The production quality on this album is degraded to old school 80’s thrash. And when you are used to hearing the crisp, clean guitars blaze through your Bose speakers, this album sounds like it’s reluctant to be played. I can understand that they wanted to sound more old-school thrash, like they did back on “Act III,” but cutting back on the sound quality of the riffs, hard-hitting drums, and just keeping the vocals loud, it almost sounds like Mark is in front and the rest of the guys are all the way in the back. I think if you asked Brian Dobbs (who produced “The Art of Dying”) how he felt about this album, he would probably sigh and say he should have done it.

The songwriting has also taken a step down from the stage of greatness. Find me one song that clicks like the track “Thrown to the Wolves” on “The Art of Dying” did. You can’t because there are none. You would think Emmy-award winning producer Nick Raskulinecz would come up with something better. It scares me that he will be doing the next Trivium album.

The single, “Sonic Beatdown,” is as close of a good song as you can find on the album. Yeah it’s got a decent riff; they all have decent riffs. But you really don’t want to hear anything decent from this band, which has the talent, no matter what the band members’ ages, to go past this failure of an album and mark perfection next time. Until then, “Killing Season” has arrived, but for a true Death Angel fan, it has already died.

Highs: Good energy, speed, and decent vocal delivery.

Lows: Production quality, songwriting, and overall feeling of under-achievement.

Bottom line: For all Death Angel Fans, leave "Killing Season" behind.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)