One normally doesn't think of the nation of Spain when thinking about hotbeds of potent thrash bands, however, Angelus Apatrida shows us that we shouldn't take this particular nation for granted. I must admit, I was unfamiliar with this band's earlier work when I first received Aftermath, but after multiple listens over the past number of weeks I believe, perhaps, that this is one of the greatest thrash records of the year.
While good thrash records are a dime a dozen, Aftermath reaches the next level for two very profound reasons. The first is the diversity in the songs and the songwriting. While all of the songs on Aftermath are held together by a common thread, each particular cut stands clearly on its own and is distinct. Where many thrash records these days are rather "one note," this is not at all the case here. Second, the specific use of guest vocalists including names like Jamey Jasta and famed Spanish rapper Sho-Hai add additional layers of texture to the record that keeps the songs interesting.
The first single, "Cold" has a killer clean chorus and a ton of massive riffs and shredding to keep almost anyone happy. Reticent of bands like Havok and Kreator, Angelus Apatrida are able to thrash hard but then also offer significant melody that, frankly, takes you by surprise the first time you hear. If nothing else, "Cold" demonstrates that the band has the needed chops yet also knows how to write a song that stands out from the clutter of thrash songs that seem to permeate the greater metal landscape.
"To Whom it May Concern" slows things down a bit at the beginning and comes at a great point in the middle of the record. I'm hearing shades of Slayer in this particular cut and there are other touches reminiscent of our favorite California sons throughout the rest of the record. And just as in "Cold" a beautiful clean chorus. Not to mention the dreamy guitar extended solo.
Now, if I had to choose a favorite track on this record I might have to select the final cut, which is called "Vultures and Butterflies." This one has Queensryche's Todd La Torre who gives an extremely powerful vocal performance with the pre-chorus. La Torre just rips loose and it contrasts so nicely with that of Guillermo Izquierdo (lead vocalist of the band). There's a stellar solo to boot, making this one of the most interest songs on the record to listen to.
What it comes down to is the fact that while Angelus Apatrida might not be a household name when it comes to modern thrash, Aftermath leaves little doubt. This band clearly has so much to offer and in terms of musicianship, songwriting and arranging. With lyrics accessibly written in English, there's really no reason why shouldn't really check them out. You'll be more than glad you did.