Archangel A.D. – Warband

Rating: 2.5/5
Distributor/label URL: Self-released
Released: 2018
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Band line-up:

Jacob Garcia – Guitar
Matthew Karr – Guitar
Justin Lopez – Bass/Vocals
Edward Vera Jr. – Drums


1. Unto The Evil
2. Blightning
3. Warband
4. Enter The Temple
5. Evil Dreams
6. Metal Horde


Archangel A.D. take their listeners back to good old days, where long hair was compulsory, where double denim was considered normal and where boomboxes were heard on every street corner. Even though the band were never in such a world, they certainly have recreated it for themselves. Like all of their material, their second release ‘Warband’ is a tribute to a time that hasn’t aged at all, and it’s crammed full of high octane thrash, with some slower doom elements in the style of Candlemass.

You better love speed picking if you choose to buy this album. There’s nothing wrong with that style of playing, but it’s a little overdone with these guys. There are many interesting and stylish breaks from it that travel up and down scales in embellished ways, but if you want classic riff-fests in the style of Megadeth, et al, you will likely be disappointed. There are no Enter Sandman ideas that stay in the brain for long periods and intelligent developments in the style of ‘Wake Up Dead’ are lacking. The guitar solos are equally forgettable. The musician isn’t unskilled, but he lacks the ability to really add to the music with the creativity of Marty Friedman, to put it mildly. He is a little below average.

The way the guitars and bass sometimes move independently is interesting, but maybe such higher ideas aren’t as common as one might want them to be. It’s extremely typical for thrash bands to have all instruments in unison, and Archangel have missed an opportunity to develop a more unique sound. But then again, they’re not prog so maybe everything is fine in that respect. The band’s tribute to Candlemass in their song ‘Evil Dreams’ isn’t anything to be excited about. Basically Archangel have taken the band’s ideas and made them worse. They have made them their own at least a little bit, but certainly not in a refreshing way.

In conclusion this is thrash metal that is in some ways tiresome and in other ways quite promising. If you are a real fan of the genre and you know everything by Slayer, Testament, Kreator, Exodus, etc., it’s hard to imagine you getting anything out of ‘Warband’. Unless you’re on a mission to hear all the thrash metal in the world and you’re obsessed with it, this release with very likely come across as very cliched. It does however, pump up the adrenaline.

Review by Simon Wiedemann