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Archangel A.D. - Casus Belli

Archangel A.D.
Casus Belli
by Kevin Lewis at 28 June 2021, 12:49 PM

ARCHANGEL A. D. is a four-piece thrash metal band out of Edinburgh, Texas formed in 2015. It took six years to get their debut full-length album out, but it was worth the wait. "Casus Belli" was independently released on July 23, 2021.

Right off the bat, the thrash just rockets into your ears. “Bet On Death” is a fast-paced, dual guitar assault on the senses. The trade-off guitar solos are reminiscent of many NWOBHM bands, but are straight thrash. There is no melodic stuff in the solos, just speed. The good thing is, there is a rhythm section that can support that kind of riffage. The drummer is good, playing everything from blast beats to intricate patterns that showcase his talent.

The title track comes next and really rips. The interplay with all the instruments is augmented by the gruff vocals. There is a lot of grit in the voice, but not full false cord vocals. This is good because that would cross more into the black or death metal realms and this band is more of a traditional thrash, not a crossover.

Beacons” gives me a bit of a FLOTSAM AND JETSAM vibe, which is awesome. As one of the forerunners of the thrash scene in the 80s, channeling them is homage to one of the greats. The grit in the vocals really shines in this song. The rhythm is killer and the guitar work continues to be on point.

Celestion” is another absolute ripper that has great tuning and a crushing rhythm that supports the warp speed guitar work. I love how the drums work with the guitars, crashing the cymbals in time with the riff at some points. It’s like sonic punctuation, putting the exclamation marks into the sound.

After a quick Spanish language song, “Sangre De Las Montañas,” which is just an acoustic guitar and vocals, they turn the speed down a little and trudge through “Demonolition," a nice doom-laden song that oozes along, dripping in menace and dread. It’s a different sound, leaning heavily on the bass guitar to propel the song along, using that to set a different tempo and tone.

Door To The Moon” is another slower, sludgy song with some interesting vocal work in it. Cleaner than most of the rest of the record, the slower tempo shows a different side of the band as a whole. They display patience, waiting to build towards the end to ensure the listener knows they have been taken on a journey. The increase in intensity for the guitars in towards the end is a nice piece of writing that shows an ability to really set a mood.

ARCHANGEL A.D. have a bright future. The production on this is a little rough. The musicians are talented and work well together. It will be interesting to see where they go next. This record feels a little like they are still finding their identity. There are some definite highlights and a lot of promise of good things to come. Overall a good record worth blasting out while banging your head.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Bet on Death
2. Casus Belli
3. Beacons
4. Pluto's Lament
5. Celestion
6. Sangre De Las Montañas
7. Demonolith
8. Blasphemer
9. Door to The Moon
10. The Coming of The West Wind
Lineup:
Justin Noel Lopez – Bass/Vocals
Edward Vera – Drums
Roman Miguel Ignacio Torres – Guitar
Jacob Lee Garcia – Guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


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