1/29/2015 - Review by: Greg Watson
Right now, it's probably in the 50's temperature wise near Albacete, Spain. What's significant about Albacete and the temperature you ask? Well, Albacete is the home of Angelus Apatrida and the temperature is about to skyrocket once people get ahold of "Hidden Evolution", Angelus Apatrida's fifth studio album. This album is so hot and thrash-infested that it would make a lava flow from an active volcano seem like a dip in a hot tub.
From the outset, Angelus are out to show that they are a force to be reckoned with as the opening notes of "Immortal" kick in. The death metal tinged stomp that kicks the song off is just skull crushing and then once vocalist Guillermo Izquierdo brings his voice into the mix, it's all over as the melee begins. Furious guitar work, bombastic drumming and bone-shaking bass permeate the track all while Izquierdo is snarling and sneering his vocals like a rabid hyena. "First World of Terror" kicks off with a militaristic drum cadence that is slowly quieted by a swirling guitar riff that then melds with a heavier drum march before the song cranks up the speed and begins to rip through a classic thrash riff like Freddy Kreuger's claws ripping through a sleeping teen. Izquierdo's vocals take on a bit of a cleaner tone on the chorus but still retain that classic thrash delivery during the verses. The guitars on this track are insanely fast, precise and incredibly technical.
"Architects" comes out next with all guns blazing as the speed of this track hits you from the jump. The chorus of this song ends with a catchy riff and some bad ass drumming. Guillermo throws in some excellently placed shrieks on the track to give it some extra kick. "Tug of War" may be one of the best songs on the album. Beginning with a buzzsaw guitar riff and then being built upon with a staccato drum beat, Izquierdo's vocals start out with a bit of a death metal growl and then move back to the more familiar thrash tinged vocals. The line "Something is killing this world, riding fast through its entrails" is just a phenomenal lyric that is easy to repeat over and over in your head. At the 3 minute mark, the solo starts out as a slow burner before becoming a shredfest that is just ridiculously fast. Then the drums join in as the guitars begin a furious sweeping riff. From beginning to end, my neck is bearing the weight of furious headbanging on that track and whenever I finish listening to it, I want to find something to destroy. "Serpents on Parade" has a very power metal influenced riff to kick it off a la Edguy or Dream Evil. The drumming of Victor Valera really shines on this track as he is pounding the skins for all they're worth and his double bass lines are insanely fast and almost mechanized, reminding me a lot of Pete Sandoval from Morbid Angel. The riff in this track is some of Izquierdo's and David Alvarez's catchiest on the album with this riff that will get stuck in your head for days. "Wanderers Forever" seems to be a nod to being able to tour the world.
A great, anthemic track to just punch your fist in the air to. The first single released off the album, "End Man", greets you next and takes you on one hell of a ride. Speedy guitar work kicks you in the face as the track takes off at warp speed. This track may be Guillermo's finest performance as you can hear the venom just spewing from his delivery on the song as he sings "You probably never knew my name. You think I could forget yours?" The chorus on "End Man" is a bit more catchy, almost pop influenced and I use the pop reference lightly, with the vocals taking on a bit of a Udo Dirkschneider tone to them. This song was the perfect choice for the first single as it showcases the band's improved technical skills and really has the aggression cranked up from 2012's "The Call", which is amazing in and of itself as that album was incredibly angry and heavy. The final delivery of "I am the end...man" makes it sound as though Izquierdo is stating that he is the end of all things, let's hope not cause I want more from this band in the years to come.
"Speed of Light" has probably the most memorable chorus on the album with the gang chanted vocals throughout it. The title of this track is also apropo as speed is the focal point of this song and seemingly the entire album. "I Owe You Nothing" is the next to last track and features some incredible bass work by Jose Izquierdo throughout. The final track which is also the title track of the album brings this incredible album to an epic conclusion. Starting with a NWOBHM styled dual guitar intro, the song clocks in at a lengthy 8:59. Featuring some of the fiercest music yet, the track hurtles you along like a bullet train speeding towards Tokyo. Then at about the halfway point, someone slams on the brakes and the music turns very progressive and almost jazzy. Beautiful guitar work and jazzy drum fills abound for a solid 60 seconds before the guitars begin to wail once again like a banshee on the Moors of England. At 6:20 into the song, Guillermo and David Alvarez begin a speed metal riff that is just jaw dropping, carrying it on for about 35 seconds of insanity ending with a slow fadeout.
One thing is clear from this album, the band have upped their technical abilities and their musicianship. The precision with which they play is nothing short of incredible and the way everything flows and fits together is simply magic. The production on the album is solid, with Daniel Cardoso once again handling producing duties. This is the third album that Cardoso has produced for the boys and each album brings out a little more clarity and a beefier sound than the previous one had. Bottom line is this, this album is a must have thrash album. So, throw your horns high and be prepared for an album that will leave you gasping for air as though the humidity of Spain is crushing the breath right out of you!
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