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Middle of the Road - 75%

Ktulu, October 9th, 2003

I’ve heard both praise and disdain for this, the last Death Angel album (at least for now!). Really, neither party is right. The album is neither a masterpiece, nor is it a complete dud -- it’s just good.

The first half of the album is definitely the better half. We start out with two pretty similar tracks, fast, upbeat thrashers that are incredibly fun to sing along with. The lyrics to the second one, "Stop", however get a little silly in the chorus. "I want to talk about it"? Come on... provoke me! Next up is the first of two ballads, this being the better one. "Veil of Deception" is a beautifully crafted song and conveys some real emotion, as well as some very skilled acoustic guitar work. The other ballad, "A Room with a View" is decent enough, but doesn’t half the same power.

Track four is the real reason to buy this album. "The Organization" is an instant classic, it got me headbanging in seconds. Fantastic riffs, a heavy, catchy groove and interesting, singable lyrics make this song a thrash essential. The next song, "Discontinued" is the second best song with its unique vibe, combining thrash, funk and some old-school hardcore into one infectious mix.

The remaining four songs are all paler versions of the first few. "Stagnant" is another funkier tune, but with no real ‘oomph’. "Disturbing the Peace" is most likely the best song out of the last half, with "Ex-Tc" coming in second, but there isn’t really one song here that is head-and-shoulders above the rest. With that said, the first five songs could have made one hell of an EP, but instead we get a so-so full-length. One thing that is always top-notch throughout the album is Mark Osegueda’s performance on vocals. He’s a very expressive, powerful singer, although he doesn’t exactly match his performance from THE ULTRA-VIOLENCE.

Here’s hoping for them to step it up a bit with their reunion album!