So after committing the world to “The Ultra-Violence” and splitting skulls left and right we take a breather with “Frolic Through The Park” in which DEATH ANGEL loses all ability to Thrash and falls flat on its face. Now 2 years later we are greeted with “Act III”, in which the band seems to have gotten back on the wagon, albeit half-heartedly. Indeed, “Act III” is better than its predecessor but suffers from that mind-crippling disease of experimentation.
DEATH ANGEL does do a good job at fooling us initially, hitting the listener with the nice Thrashy “Seemingly Endless Time” featuring excellent riffs and above-average vocal work. The drums are immediately noticeable as being quite varied and energetic. The lead work shreds as well, pouring through the speakers like a forest fire. We are also given a slight clue as to what this album has in store for us when Mark Osegueda starts singing with clean vocals. His voice is actually quite strong but the chorus lacks clarity and punch and ultimately renders the vocal-work moot. “Stop” Thrashes forth in a similar vein proving these guys can still write decent compositions, even if they are merely solid and not quite up to par with “The Ultra-Violence.” Despite the aforementioned flaws these two tracks are the album’s thrashing highlights and showcase the excellent riffage found within.
What hit me next was complete and utter shock. “Veil Of Deception” is a ballad of sorts and not quite a thrasher at all. Somehow DEATH ANGEL pull it off and showcase emotionally tinged vocals which are strong as hell. The acoustic riffs found here are excellent as well and will not be leaving your memory any time soon. It is also intelligently kept to just under 3 minutes in which case it serves as nice atmospheric interlude rather than meandering on and taking away from the lethality of the album. Damn excellent track and the only ballad I have ever truly enjoyed.
“The Organization” kicks across the air waves next and proves another solid thrasher, nothing special but enjoyable nonetheless. “Discontinued” is where this albums wanders off and loses itself in banality. The drum intro is opening couple riffs are wicked but are dealt a blow to the chops of aggression when that riff kicks in at . I am left mumbling, “What the hell?” and cannot wipe the consternation from my brow. Whoever came up with the ingenious idea to merge Funk with Thrash needs to be re-introduced to “The Four Horsemen” and “Holy Wars” which possess BALLS not this hollow excuse for compositional skills. Additionally, at about the song loses ANY shred of mayhem it had left when it wanders off into that melodic solo and never really recovers. This track highlights the experimentation found on this album which continues to rear its head from in bits and peaces on the rest of the disk.
The first time I gave this album a listen I was hoping to God that they would some how recover and “A Room Without A View” would be another nice thrasher. Oh how I was let down. This track is the second ballad found on the album and is one of those tracks which you just wish would go away. It is cheesy as hell and features piss-poor vocals. This does not touch “Veil Of Deception” and only stirs emotions of sadness due to the fact that these guys forgot how to write a decent song. It’s a horrible sign when you find yourself skipping a track on an album more often than not.
“Stagnant” starts off decent enough but does not even approach making you forget about the previous atrocity until it manages to such just as hard at 1:30 when that god-awful FRANZ FERDINAND hits you and gives way to those atrocious POISON/WHITESNAKE vocals. This track packs no punch and only succeeds at teasing with one or two heavy riffs in the middle. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
After the previous two tracks are said and done, “EX-TC” comes across as gold in comparison. The song contains riffs which prove effective and much better vocal work, hell there’s even a good chorus. However, when judged on its own merit this one is readily identifiable as another average Thrash composition which doesn’t come close to this band’s debut. The following two tracks, “Disturbing The Peace” and “Falling Asleep” are in the same vein, managing not to suck but not to kill.
This album is riddled with good moments as well as bad and does not do the band justice in the least. If given the choice, pick up “The Ultra-Violence” instead, although “Act III” is still perhaps worth the price given its bargain bin status. It comes down to the fact whether you enjoy experimentation in your Metal. In my opinion this band lost sight of its purpose and failed to produce the metal thrashing mayhem we have all come to love. (Online June 7, 2005)