Angelus Apatrida is a thrash metal band hailing from Albacete, Spain. It was formed in 2000 as more of a straightforward heavy metal band leaning in the power metal direction, but they gradually shifted gears and ventured into thrash territory. And boy are they good at it!
It’s no secret that thrash is making a bit of a comeback as of late. The death metal and -core sounds are starting to get old and there are hundreds of bands forming every month who want to do other styles of metal and thrash seems to be one of the go-to options. That being said, there are plenty of bands doing thrash who simply try to create a carbon copy of Megadeth’s first album, or the first couple of Metallica albums, or early Testament. In other words, they tend to focus on the earliest works of the old school. They fail to realize that these bands grew as artists over a period of time and came up with richer melodies, more complex arrangements, etc. I mean, Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All is, in fact, killer. But Master of Puppets and …And Justice For All are their best work in my opinion. Likewise, I’d say that Anthrax’s best two albums are State of Euphoria and Persistence of Time, not their first couple of records. Angelus Apatrida would seem to have similar feelings, their arrangements, tempo changes, etc, far more complex than the oldest of the old thrash albums. Plus, they seem to have studied a wide variety of old thrash bands, such as Overkill and Voivod, not merely focused on the big four.
Hidden Evolution kicks off with “Immortal,” which delivers an onslaught of slick, fast guitar work and a barrage of sonorous drums that are sure to make you feel more caffeinated than you were before you turned it on. Definitely one to bang you head to. And before I get to other must-hear tracks I should point out that this album is lyrically very deep, rich with social and political ideas that should lubricate any rusty wheels in your brain. Just look at the album cover by Gyula Havancsák: it features a man in what I assume is a bio-hazard or anti-radiation suit burning a monkey to keep warm — or eradicate a virus — in what would seem to be a nuclear winter. Regardless of how you interpret it, it makes you think and that’s what the band apparently seeks to do with its lyrics. Take “First World of Terror,” for example. “Fight for freedom with my last breath,” sings vocalist Guillermo Izquierdo and it’s more than a battle cry; it’s a wake up call. I especially love how it sounds like soldiers marching across the battle field during parts, especially the opening. “Fire, kill, obey,” Guillermo instructs listeners. It’s obviously not what he wants the listener to do — he’s merely demonstrating the mind set of people in power who want absolute control over their citizens.
Elsewhere, “Serpents On Parade” finds Victor Valera firing on cylinders, blasting the listener with a thousand beats per minute (so to speak). The guitar work by Guillermo and David Alvarez is especially impressive here, though it’s awe-inspiring throughout the album. But this one leaves you feeling like you’re a passenger on a high speed train that’s about to hit another train head on, like you’ve been injected with a shot of adrenaline. “End Man” is another highlight, meshing melodic parts with their brand of propulsive thrash brilliantly. Then again, they do everything brilliantly. There isn’t a bad song on this album. They’re all exemplary. I know it’s only January but it’s highly possible that there won’t be a better thrash record this year.