Angelus Apatrida – Hidden Evolution (Century Media)

Sunday, 28th December 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Intertwining Spanish and Latin aspects for a band name that roughly translates to ‘Renegade Angel’, it’s a good thing that many metal fans subscribe to a ‘music first, everything else second’ philosophy, because I’m sure this Spanish thrash band spend a lot of time winning over converts who fence-sit based on first impressions for monikers. It’s not a group that rolls off the tongue for chanting like ‘SLAYER’ or ‘SODOM’, you see? Active for 14 years, their fifth album Hidden Evolution barnstorms from synthesizing the best aspects of aggressive European thrash, the subtleties/intricacies of the Bay Area template as well as a little bit of finesse coming from outside influences.

Originally developing from more of a European power influence and gravitating to thrash allows Angelus Apatrida to set up many of their main guitar hooks and riffs in a harmonic perspective, incorporating a bevy of chord progressions in line with say Annihilator or Heathen if taken through some older Blind Guardian tricks. Check out “Architects” and “Speed of Light” and you’ll clearly understand axe men David G. Álvarez and Guillermo Izquierdo (the latter doubling up on main vocals) have schooling and seasoning at their instrument craft and use everything they can to energize this material. More mid-tempo tracks like “First World of Terror” or “Wanderers Forever” provide that necessary dynamic transformation to allow the punchier “Immortal” and gallop, more old school oriented “I Owe You Nothing” to gain the lion’s share of jaw-dropping, thunderous applause moments.

The almost 9 minute title cut closes the proceedings on perhaps their most left-field, musically inclined arrangement to date. Featuring Guillermo’s appropriate sneer/snarl meets thrash bark (think Chuck Billy meets Dave Mustaine), an incessant, booming bass line from José J. Izquierdo, the roller coaster riffing, quiet instrumental bridge and feel has a lot of classic Megadeth trademarks if you miss their Rust in Peace meets Countdown to Extinction dominance. Those who love a lot of melodic harmonies and shred parts will definitely worship this axe duo- which I think is a testament to the overall appeal for Hidden Evolution, as it’s got more intricacy and ability at hand than the average younger thrash upstart.

A digital only release for North America, hopefully the quality songwriting on display can transfer to a possibly prime opening slot here as they can certainly hang with their worldwide contemporaries.

Angelus Apatrida official website