"Divide and Conquer" plays like a broken record. Although I'm not particularly fond of Suicidal Angels, I can't say the band's music turns me into a seething pot of boiling rage. Like the bulk of the revivalist refugees trying to illegally cross over into Thrashistan, Suicidal Angels' outings have been mostly unremarkable-typical worship of Slayer, Exodus, Kreator, and so on. I'm honestly not trying to dog the group, but after "Divide and Conquer" has finished its fifty-minute jig of ordinary riffs and banal songs, it's incredibly difficult to see Suicidal Angels as a rising star in the herd of Sodom knockoffs and Exodus wannabes. It's a mostly dull affair that, like much of the band's prior releases, has one trick in its arsenal and goes in one ear and quickly out the other.
I called it a 'broken record' because the whole thing is pretty much strict worship of the bare bones of the thrash sound spinning in a circle. It's fine to pay homage to classic groups, but when the music is so restrained that no brand of identity exists, there's a problem. "Divide and Conquer" is even largely devoid of predictable riffs or ideas that at least have some value to them; the style is completely safe, expected, straightforward, and deprived of impact. How they volley between paces-fast riffs and mid-paced sections-is without any measure of drama whatsoever that would otherwise push Suicidal Angels into some kind of territory outside the just-another-thrash-metal-band cage in which they've locked themselves. It's a copy-paste kind of a record; a group delivering more of the same and innovatively running on fumes.
Like a lot of these factions, the tragedy is in the details. The members are all capable musicians, and predictably put on decent performances. The solos are excellent-anti-melodious, chaotic-based leads-and I like the gritty vocals, but compositionally "Divide and Conquer" is flat. They don't do themselves any favors writing pointlessly long tracks like "White Wizard" and "Seed of Evil," which could both have three minutes or so shaved off without affecting the gist of either opus. Suicidal Angels is stuck in the mud even when they try to indiscriminately maim your face on a tune like "In the Grave" or "Lost Dignity"-predictably nothing but the by-the-numbers approach under a different song title.
I don't find the tracks enjoyable, but they aren't horribly offensive, either; they ride a mediocre wavelength that seldom fluctuates. Thrash metal's resurgence is a competitive field, and its top players have, not surprisingly, risen above the fundamental ideas of the subgenre through means of raw production jobs or adding additional influences to the recipe-something that has elevated them above the mob and, at the very least, made an impression. Suicidal Angels needs that 'something' to get beyond the obvious worship, or anything, really, because the herd mentality hasn't moved them forward. Instead, they're still shuffling around Slayer albums on the starting line, the only kinetic force the band has experienced since day one.