01. Scavenger 02. Cold 03. Snob (feat. Jamey Jasta) 04. Fire Eyes (feat. Pablo Garcia) 05. Rats 06. To Whom It May Concern 07. Gernika 08. I Am Hatred 09. What Kills Us All (feat. Sho-Hai) 10. Vultures And Butterflies (feat. Todd La Torre) 11. Indoctrinate (live bonus track) 12. Give 'Em War (live bonus track)
When you're on a roll, keep rolling. ANGELUS APATRIDA made a ferocious statement on their last studio record. That self-titled 2021 effort was a venomous response to the state of things that rejuvenated the Spaniards' sound and pushed them to new levels of songwriting suss and brutal precision. Given that it was self-titled, one might reasonably expect it to be the definitive ANGELUS APATRIDA album, but two years on, there is another contender to consider.
Once again inspired by world events and humanity's role in the chaos, "Aftermath" is a serious thrash metal odyssey, with just as much laser-focused vitriol as its predecessor, but also with much evidence that frontman/guitarist Guillermo Izquierdo and his comrades have refined their sound even further. What emerges is a ten-song master class in modern thrash, with all the old-school viciousness and cutting-edge crunch that such a noble endeavor entails. Long-time producer Juanan López knows ANGELUS APATRIDA inside out, and his big, detailed production is perfect for songs like rabid opener "Scavenger". If the last album proclaimed a return to maximum aggression, that ethos has rolled over to "Aftermath", but with an even greater emphasis on anthemic choruses.
"Scavenger" is as punishing as anything in the quartet's canon, but it also has huge, authoritative hooks and breathtakingly deft changes of pace and groove. "Cold" is another gleaming thrash basher, touched by the skeletal specter of SLAYER but underpinned by death metal discord, and with a colossal, widescreen chorus melody that rises majestically from the machine-gun maelstrom. Then, without warning, ANGELUS APATRIDA drop one of the nastiest metallic hardcore beatdowns in living memory, just for the old-school Hell of it.
Similarly, "Snob" features HATEBREED's Jamey Jasta in beast mode, bellowing defiance over some laudably thuggish crossover riffs. It's a righteous meeting of minds, and another skillful hybrid of thrash and hardcore strains. Elsewhere, the balance between all-out thrash and grown-up songwriting is deftly maintained. "What Kills Us All", a collaboration with Zaragoza rap star Sho-Hai, is a clever nod to more modern notions of heavy music that still sits neatly in this band's wheelhouse. "Rats" is ruthlessly precise and melodically askew, and a sublime equal split between MEGADETH-style technicality and hardcore's stripped down pummeling.
QUEENSRYCHE frontman Todd La Torre lends his immaculate wail to ornate prog metal ballad "Vultures And Butterflies", while "To Whom It May Concern" is an explosive, nine-minute epic with a KILLSWITCH-catchy core refrain and perverse twists and turns, in and out of old-school territory, and echoing everything from OZZY to MACHINE HEAD along the way.
Again, this is serious thrash penned by serious songwriters who know their strengths and play like absolute demons. "Aftermath" is a heavyweight record for the heaviest of times, and another fearless stride forward for Spain's finest. Meanwhile, bonus live versions of "Indoctrinate" (from "Angelus Apatrida") and "Give 'Em War" (from the 2007 album of the same name) confirm that ANGELUS APATRIDA are the real, red-blooded, fire-breathing deal.
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