After a three year long wait, Spanish thrash metal titans Angelus Apatrida are back with their fifth LP, ‘Hidden Evolution’, which re-asserts them as a big player in the genre today. This album is filled with classic thrash elements with a strong melody in each song that gives it an extra boost that could give casual listeners of thrash, or any type of metal at that, a point of accessibility.
Like any good thrash metal record, ‘Hidden Evolution’ opens with an onslaught of drums that hurl the listener into a fast-paced track full of riffs and drums that clock in at the speed of light. ‘Immortal’ sees the band cram the traditional thrash trimmings into a three and a half minute song, however, this is only to ease you into the grand works that ‘Hidden Evolution’ has buried within.
‘Tug Of War’ is a full six minutes of pummelling drums and punishing guitar riffs that would melt a face away in mere seconds. The band play fantastically; everything is so tightly compacted together it would be impossible to get a hair in between it all. Throughout this track, the technical chops of each band member is showcased to a great extent, the guitars especially are put under the spotlight to show their shredding capabilities, but also their work with a clean guitar sound. The small end section is solely the two guitars swapping licks with each other, and displays how versatile they are as it sounds like a completely different genre of metal.
Occasionally the songs begin to echo the thrash behemoths of the 1980s, mainly Anthrax and Megadeth, due to the similarities found in both the production and the riffs. ‘Serpents On Parade’ and ‘Speed Of Light’ both could be compared to Megadeth‘s earlier, more aggressive material with its unrelenting speed and ferocious guitar work. The latter track features a particularly Dave Mustaine-esque solo. However, one thing that some listeners may find offputting is the vocals which are also, at points, similar to Mustaine‘s very distinctive, but not always consistent, style of singing.
As the LP is drawn to a close with the grand opus of the title-track, it continues with the explosive riffs and searing hot solos that make this album a modern thrash master piece. The nine minute epic is similar to ‘Tug Of War’ in that it features both a full-on distorted section and a clean section that morphs back into the full in thrash beast that it holds before fading out.
Overall, ‘Hidden Evolution’ is a fantastic piece of modern metal that reminds you just how good thrash metal can be, and continues to be through this superb band.
Written by Ewan Macdonald