Abaddon magazine

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Monday, December 5, 2022

Review: Death Angel – The Bastard Tracks

Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Date: November 26th, 2021

Wine tastes better with age. You have heard it for how many times? In the metal world, Death Angel might be the school example of those bands that get better and better as the time passes by.

In the past two years faced with the Corona pandemic (call it however you want), many bands were forced to change their day routine. Corona affected many, especially on those who lived on tours, for the tours, from the tours… On the unknown field they had to learn to survive. Some were more, some less successful. Some were innovative, modern, selling “own” coffee, beer and wine, some tried to collect money in crowd-found campaigns, some released best of the best of albums (read: recycled themselves), some tried to be innovative, but Bay Area thrashers Death Angel delivered quite unique album, “The Bastard Tracks”. Ok, I know… You will say Iron Maiden did it before (“Best of the B Sides”, 2002), but Death Angel put it on a higher level. How? Before I answer this question, maybe I should explain what B side is?

Close your eyes and imagine you are at your favorite band’s show, even better, if you were at one of their magnificent shows, try to recall a memory…  Are you one of those who expect to hear only big “hits” or still there are people like me who always cry for more? Well, I am old so I might write do you expect to hear only A sides not B sides, but you youngsters would not understand (unfortunately). I already mentioned Iron Maiden and “Best of the B sides”, mentioned young fans, so I shall explain what B side is? This live album is supposed to focus on bands B-sides or “flip-side”, or simply said all those songs you do not hear at the concerts because some might say they are not representative enough, but are your personal favorite. Smart asses from San Francisco thought about that and as the result we have “The Bastard Tracks”. An album recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on May 22nd, 2021. The band was touring, then hit by Corona madness somewhere in Europe, got back home with one infected band member, after that quarantine, and so many other challenges.

I guess it was hard to pick the songs, maybe even harder to remember how to play it, because some of those, as I might mention, were never played live, plus you have Damien who came to band in 2009 and song selection goes from the period he was not in the band, but I am also sure in this crazy times guys have found the way to make a fun, to bound themselves again, recharge batteries, recollect memories…

As it was presented in press material:

“The Bay Area thrashers dig deep into their catalog to perform older favorites, newer classics and songs that have never been performed live before. You’ll hear the stories behind the songs, and get a glimpse into the collective minds and souls of Death Angel.”

And that is how this live album, compilation, is different, unique… I am sure a lot of you might be surprised because at some point some of the songs like “Succubus”, “Volcanic”, “Execution – Don’t Save Me” sound damn good but you will simply ask yourself: “Is that actually Mark singing?”.

Some of those songs were rarely or almost never performed live, so “The Bastard Tracks” is a great collection of rare songs for fanatics. Although this is a great collection, I cannot wait to see not just Death Angel but any other band live, on the stage, with no restrictions, to feel that energy again, to react and interact, to feel alive!

In the end, rhetorical question: did you miss your favorite thrash bastards? Because I surely did!