Angelus Apatrida – Clockwork Review

Angelus Apatrida // Clockwork
Rating: 3.0/5.0 —Enjoyable, hungry, not so sticky.
Label: Century Media
Websites: |
Release Dates: EU: 21/22.06.2010 | US: 06.29.2010

Angelus Apatrida is a Spanish thrash metal band founded in the early 2000s, that is now putting out it’s third record, but Clockwork is the first for one of metal’s biggest labels: Century Media. So when I got this record, I just kinda went “who?” and went on with my day not thinking much of it. The name, which roughly translates to “fallen angels”, means nothing to me and has been sorta flitting in and out of my brain and while I was surprised to stick this in and hear thrash metal screaming at me (that’ll teach me to not read the bio first), I wasn’t really sure that there was anything here that would stick.

So I’ve gotta start by saying that what Angelus Apatrida does, they do remarkably well. This record is a thrash metal assault like few that I’ve heard in the modern era. While playing thrash which is clearly derivative of the American thrash movement of the 1980s and early 90s, they’re not trying to live the 80s, but instead update that sound into something heavy as hell and relevant to 2010. Whether or not they succeed at that is definitely up in the air. While I certainly enjoy the band’s take on thrash metal, this often times just sounds like a cross between Pantera, Overkill and Kreator with a vocalist who wants to be a bit of Dave Mustaine and James Hetfield at the same time (but with an accent).

But that the band has produced a 51 minute album filled with tracks that don’t suck (and including a very good cover of “Be Quick or Be Dead” by the mighty Iron Maiden should definitely speak highly of them). These tracks are balls to the wall heavy while still being melodically interesting. The vocals are well delivered if a bit monotonous at times, and when they go clean they really shines (loved the “War to end all wars”-part on “One Side One War”). “One Side One War” is a great track, for example, as well as “My Insanity” which directly proceeds it on the album. But honestly, every track on here is good, there isn’t a single moment of boredom or mis-aimed riffs or silly vocals or lyrics that make a lot of the modern thrash attack stuff pretty ridiculous. It’s just that they don’t really stick and I don’t find myself really wanting to come back and give this another listen.

In the end, however, this is still a thrash record in 2010. It’s good, but derivative, and I can’t see it topping my end of year list any faster than Enforcer will. Most of these riffs were written for the first time in 1986, and the vocals are just too “Man, I’ve heard that before” for me to really be able to get used to it. Still, these guys win with good riffs, good song writing and a generally solid approach. The production isn’t retardly overdone and they write some seriously addictive guitar melodies. Oh, the guitar solos on “Be Quick or Be Dead” are practically dead ringers for the original while still being personalized, which also gains them points. But you know the drill: give them a shot if you love thrash. If it ain’t your thing, this is definitely a record you should pass on.

« »