“The Dream Calls for Blood”, the follow up to Bay Area thrash legends DEATH ANGEL’s crushing “Relentless Retribution” (2010), was recorded once again at Audio Hammer Studios utilizing the production services of Jason Suecof (THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, GOD FORBID, TRIVIUM). It finds DEATH ANGEL at the height of their powers, summarily fired and inspired by the exhaustive three years touring mounted for the last record, a worldwide onslaught that found the band fully welcomed, as vocalist Mark Osegueda explains, into the pantheon of thrash mastery...
“We finally did some shows with the big four guys, some festivals with SLAYER in Europe. We toured three legs with the ANTHRAX/TESTAMENT/DEATH ANGEL tour, throughout North America, plus we did the METALLICA Fillmore shows. We did some festivals with MEGADETH, so we touched on all the big four. We’re getting the word out that we are a relevant force in this type of music, a force to be reckoned with, because we’ve still got this young anger in us (laughs). Our stage show still completely delivers the goods, back to back with the younger thrash bands or the older thrash bands. We’re very confident in our live performance and we hold our own. And we think this next record is going to solidify that we also do that in the studio.”
“The tour went at least twice as long as we expected it was going to go,” adds guitarist Rob Cavestany. “So that in itself was a trip. We figured the album would come out, we’d tour a year, year-and-a-half or so, and our plan from the start was to do two albums—a back-to-back attack. But we just kept getting killer offers to do shows. Our livelihood is when you’re on the road, and we want to bring our music to as many people as possible. And then it went so long, it crossed over to the 25th anniversary of “The Ultra-Violence”. So then we extended the touring by playing “The Ultra-Violence” in its entirety as a special set. And I think doing that also had an effect on the writing of this album.”
As for the result of all that intense heavy metal life experience, Rob figures DEATH ANGEL has made a record that is, “absolutely darker than the last album, it’s darker, and at the same time more brutal, heavier, more evil-sounding, if that’s a description of music. And I think somehow it is (laughs). And although the songs are shorter than on the last album, this record still seems to be more epic-sounding, if that makes sense...”
Parallel to sharing stages with all the greats of their genre, DEATH ANGEL fulfilled further career aims through the geographical extent to which they took their uniquely charmed and measurably melodic form of expert and experiential thrash.
Highlights? “Getting to go to parts of Southeast Asia for the first time that we’ve never been,” notes Osegueda. “Plus playing South America for the first time. Our final three shows, two were in Japan, and Japan we hadn’t played in seven years, so that was phenomenal. And then we ended in Holland at the Paaspop fest. Holland has always been one of the three countries we consider our home away from home, and to finish off with such a phenomenal response... it’s the first time we ever went into the studio pretty much off of touring, so we wrote a lot of stuff on the road. Usually you’re home for three to five months getting it down. This was literally going fresh off the road, into the studio. So I think we’re going to have that live urgency on this record.”
Maintaining the sustained drive so prevalent on “Relentless Retribution” was made possible by the largest degree of continuity the band has ever experienced, record to record...
“Because, we were staying on the angry, aggressive side of things,” explains Mark, “and continuing where “Relentless” left off, we have the same producer, same engineer, same studio, same lineup, we’re using the same artist for the cover artwork... it’s the very first time we’ve had the same team working on the same records back to back, and we feel very confident about it. Everyone is behind us; everyone is in our corner—same label for Christ sake! (laughs). And everyone has all guns firing forward and we’re ready. We’re hungrier than ever.”
“It’s so much more cohesive now, with this lineup, that we’ve got,” continues Osegueda. “We know exactly how everyone is playing now, where everybody’s strengths lie, and Rob (Cavestany – guitars) completely structured songs around that. Will’s (Carroll) drumming has just flourished in the last three years, and Rob pushed him through the writing for this record, took him to the edge. And Will went into the studio and absolutely killed it. So there’s going to be a lot of—how can I put this?—technical changes that people are going to be really blown away by, but they’re going to be done under the guise of well-structured songs.”
“Arrangement was something I definitely tried to focus on more so on this album,” notes Rob, in agreement. “Which came more naturally anyway. There’s a flow to the songs from beginning to end, as opposed to writing a lot of parts and putting them together and assembling the songs. That of course happened, but there was a lot of attention given to the structures, the arrangements, the flow, taking you through the ride from the beginning through the middle and up to the end, in the transition from part to part, the build-up of the songs, and the tension and release that the songs give you.”
“While the song structure has grown quite a bit, there’s also a lot more melody, both vocally and musically,” ventures Mark, perhaps somewhat counter to Rob’s take on the vibe of the album. “But it’s definitely still just as vicious—that same kind of attitude and anger is thrown into this record. The cohesiveness of the song structure... that’s because I think with this particular lineup, we’ve grown into a band by touring the last three years straight, which feels like forever (laughs). We’re really, really proud of this record. It’s quite a combination of melody and aggression. It’s a perfect marriage of the two... or dare I say, the angry perfect marriage of the two (laughs).”
Reflects Rob, in closing, somewhat cryptically, “We’re not getting any younger. We need to make every song, every album, count even more than it ever did. So in my mind, I wanted this album to be just beyond anything, man. I wanted it to reflect a band further, deeper in their career, not the young men that they used to be, but making the most intense and killer music that they ever made. And that’s where I really feel we’re at right now. I hope all the sacrifices of the brutal personal stuff that’s going on in our lives right now adds up to something, because every ounce of being of myself is in this. I don’t think I’ve ever had as much of an intense emotional situation while recording tracks of an album. We’re just trying to put life on fucking tape there, and I’m quite sure you’re going to be able to feel it in the album.”