Archangel A.D. – Casus Belli

Band: Archangel A.D.
Title: Casus Belli
Label: Independent
Release date: 23 July 2021
Country: USA
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

Right, thrash is on the menu this week!

Later this month Archangel A.D. is releasing their debut full-length album titled Casus Belli, after having released a couple of singles and one EP since they started their musical journey. Now, having not heard those previous singles or anything from the group before, this sure was going to be an interesting ride.

Bet on Death was the opener, and while sounding more like hard-rock rather than thrash it was definitely more of traditional metal than something new and modern. Think Kill em All meets Judas Priest, but without any bells or whistles. The album title track, Casus Belli, is however more on the thrashy riff side but I did wish I could hear the bass guitar more than just a rumbling noise in the background. While the vocals are quite the reminder of Hansi Kürch, it doesn’t change the fact that the master is quite weak on this album. Performance is not super bad, but surely could be better.

Pluto´s Lament introduces a calm bass, and while it is obvious what this group wants to accomplish it sort of falls a bit flat, and perhaps it is the fault of the production. Celestion however makes up for it all with a mix of Testament, Venom, easy riffing, palm mutes and open chord pauses. By far the most interesting work on this album. After some ill-fitting mariachi Demonolith brings the metal back but there is no question of this track being a bit weird. The vocal melody, the change of pace and the out of sync playing gives a strange vibe and I couldn’t help but think that based on the previous track Pluto´s Lament, this group can do better. Which further is proven with Blasphemer, where old school thrash is really given some good boundaries and enthusiasm. Much better than mixing everything into one bag and give it a good shake.

Door to the Moon carries the same sound as I would expect if I actually did open up a door to the moon, if the door was pained by Salvador Dali.

It is obvious that this group is taking their first steps into the big music world with this debut album, and therefore it isn’t hard to hear that they are perhaps not entirely certain which genre to stick to. In my own personal opinion, I think that these guys would be great if they stuck to early 80´s thrash, as judging from this album that is where they sound the absolute best. I hope however that next time the production will be better, as here it is think and rumbly, and misses a lot of important information in the middle to make it the most pleasantly sounding album it could. 6/10 Julia Katrin

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