Blasts off and manages to stumble towards the end
It seems the modern thrash movement is taking hold in places that one would never associate with thrash. Way back in the day, it was Bay Area or bust. Sure there was New York and Euro thrash scenes to varying degrees, but any thrash fan will tell you it was San Francisco and that was it. Enter stage left, Spain’s Angelus Apatrida. Yes, Spain - the place where crazies run with bulls and all that kind of stuff. Whilst Angelus Apatrida isn’t a newcomer to the scene, they may be a new name for some. Funny thing is with this band is that when they formed 15 years ago they were a hell of a long way from being a thrash act. They were more of a traditional heavy metal / power metal band. It was their second demo, 2003’s Unknown Human Being, that would be the turning point for the group ultimately leading them down the path of righteousness aka thrash.
Whilst the group released their first two full length efforts in 2006 and 2007, it wasn’t until their major label Century Media debut in 2010’s Clockwork that the group was brought to the attention of the metal masses. It was followed up a couple of years later with The Call and now album number three, titled Hidden Evolution, should be the album that gives us the big picture as to what Angelus Apatrida are about.
Hidden Evolution is an album that starts off well. It launches out of the blocks with unbridled fury via the opening cut titled “Immortal”. It certainly raises the bar of expectations from this quartet’s latest long player and sadly, it raises the bar beyond the reach of the group when you consider the album as a whole. Sure, it’s intense, fast paced, and delivers all that one would expect from thrash metal these days, but ultimately falls short thanks to a couple of big missteps towards the end.
It’s not that Hidden Evolution is a bad album. Perish the thought entirely. It’s more that it’s not an amazing album. It just doesn’t hit you with the kinds of songs that make you want to listen to it over and over again. There are a few absolutely killer tracks that show just how potent Angelus Apatrida can be. Their strengths are apparent in the first half of the album. However, it’s the pairing of “Speed of Light” and “I Owe You Nothing” that undo that good work. They are the weakest songs on the album by a country mile. Compared to the rest of the material, the riffs are generic and the songs themselves lack the spark that the earlier tracks deliver in spades. These two tracks seem to kill the momentum of the album without even flinching. It’s not because of their tempo, either. It’s merely because they are average at best tracks that don’t measure up. The album’s overall impact would have been greater without the aforementioned fatal pair and instead getting to the lengthy yet excellent title track that rounds things sooner rather than later.
Hidden Evolution is a mostly solid album that will no doubt please the band’s fans but for fans of the genre more so than the particular band itself, I’m not sure it’ll hold its own against the plethora of thrash acts out there these days. No doubt this would have been a stronger, more well rounded effort if it were two songs shorter, but it is what it is - above average, but not great.
Century Media Records/EMI Music Australia
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