DARK ANGEL

Thrash Metal • United States
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Dark Angel is a thrash metal band from Los Angeles. Their over-the-top style (extremely fast, heavy and lengthy songs with lots of tempo changes, lyrics and extended instrumental parts) earned them the nickname "the L.A. Caffeine Machine" and the motto "too fast, my ass". Drummer Gene Hoglan is considered to be among the best underground metal drummers in the world.

They released 4 demos until their debut full-length LP "We Have Arrived" was released in 1984. In 1986, Dark Angel released their seminal album, "Darkness Descends", which, along with records such as Metallica's "Master of Puppets", Slayer's "Reign in Blood", Megadeth's "Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?", Metal Church's "The Dark" and Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill", arguably made 1986 the peak of thrash metal. At this time Dave Mustaine asked Eric Meyer to join Megadeth, but he declined in order to stay in Dark Angel.

Two more studio albums followed,
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DARK ANGEL Discography

DARK ANGEL albums / top albums

DARK ANGEL We Have Arrived album cover 3.08 | 9 ratings
We Have Arrived
Thrash Metal 1984
DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends album cover 4.44 | 23 ratings
Darkness Descends
Thrash Metal 1986
DARK ANGEL Leave Scars album cover 3.62 | 9 ratings
Leave Scars
Thrash Metal 1989
DARK ANGEL Time Does Not Heal album cover 3.86 | 14 ratings
Time Does Not Heal
Thrash Metal 1991

DARK ANGEL EPs & splits

DARK ANGEL Ultimate Revenge 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Revenge 2
Thrash Metal 1989

DARK ANGEL live albums

DARK ANGEL Live Scars album cover 3.58 | 4 ratings
Live Scars
Thrash Metal 1990

DARK ANGEL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

DARK ANGEL Gonna Burn album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Gonna Burn
Thrash Metal 1983
DARK ANGEL Hell's on Its Knees album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hell's on Its Knees
Thrash Metal 1984
DARK ANGEL Live Demo '84 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Demo '84
Thrash Metal 1984
DARK ANGEL Live Demo From Berkeley album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Demo From Berkeley
Thrash Metal 1985
DARK ANGEL Atrocity Exhibition album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Atrocity Exhibition
Thrash Metal 1992

DARK ANGEL re-issues & compilations

DARK ANGEL The Can album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Can
Thrash Metal 1988
DARK ANGEL The Best of Dark Angel: Decade of Chaos album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Dark Angel: Decade of Chaos
Thrash Metal 1992

DARK ANGEL singles (1)

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0.00 | 0 ratings
Merciless Death
Thrash Metal 1985

DARK ANGEL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ultimate Revenge 2
Thrash Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
3-Way Thrash (VHS)
Thrash Metal 1990

DARK ANGEL Reviews

DARK ANGEL Time Does Not Heal

Album · 1991 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Time Does Not Heal" is the 4th full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Dark Angel. The album was released through Combat Records in February 1991. "Time Does Not Heal" was the last album Dark Angel released before they disbanded in 1992. Since the release of "Leave Scars (1989)" guitarist Jim Durkin has been replaced by Brett Eriksen. "Time Does Not Heal" is usually considered a fan base divider because of the literally hundreds of riffs and long complex song structures, which tend to turn some people off. Something that was already introduced on "Leave Scars (1989)" albeit in more moderate doses.

Stylistically the music on "Time Does Not Heal" is aggressive and technically well played thrash metal. As mentioned above the album is extremely riff loaded and the tracks feature several tempo changes and usually many different sections. Most tracks on the 9 track, 67:09 minutes long album exceed the 7 minutes mark. The lyrics are dark and predominatly deal with rape, abuse, violence, and the concequences of those actions seen from the victim´s perspective, which is actually a bit of a rarity in extreme metal, where lyrics dealing with those subjects are often seen through the eyes of the perpetrator.

Dark Angel are as usual a very well playing act. The aggressive riffs are delivered with fierce conviction and the drumming by Gene Hoglan is on a high technical level. Lead vocalist Ron Rinehart has a raw delivery although this time around he tries to put slightly more melody into his perfermance. With mixed results. While his usual raw thrashy vocal delivery is a bit one-dimensional, his experimentation with more melodic vocal melodies fall flat on the ground, as a result of his limited range. He sounds awfully strained at times, and it´s not exactly rewarding for the listening experience.

The sound production is more polished than the case was on the more raw and muddy sounding predecessor, but the guitars still sound a bit thin and overall it´s not the most powerful sounding production out there.

As far as development goes and the fact that a lot of other contemporary thrash metal acts were experimenting with longer song structures around the same time too, it´s not a surprise that "Time Does Not Heal" sounds like it does. As mentioned above it´s quite a controversial release that divided the band´s fanbase. Some loved the new technical direction, while others loathed the excessive number of riffs and long cryptic song structures. I personally belong in the latter camp. I have a hard time appreciating the long tracks which I feel overstay their welcome by several minutes and the fact that many of them lack memorable hooks to help tell them apart is not exactly a positive either. It´s an album that´s extremely hard to sit through in one listening session and I usually listen to a couple of songs at a time, because otherwise it becomes quite a tedious listen.

It starts off pretty well with the title track and "Pain's Invention, Madness", but I´d be surprised if I hadn´t said the same no matter which tracks they had picked to open the album with. That´s how similar in quality and style these tracks are. Unfortunately they sound too much the same and the excessive use of riffs and sections make the tracks less catchy than they probably would have been had they been more compact and had the band picked only the very best riffs for the tracks.

So it´s an album that could have been very interesting and certainly features enough intriguing ideas for that to happen, but ultimately it doesn´t, because the band are more focused on playing and incorporating those hundreds of riffs than they are on writing memorable tunes. The word "excessive" comes to mind far too many times during the playing time. Still it´s not a completely terrible album and I do enjoy it in small doses, so as I do give points for trying to create something unique I guess a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating isn´t all wrong.

DARK ANGEL Leave Scars

Album · 1989 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Leave Scars" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Dark Angel. The album was released in January 1989 through Combat Records in the US and through Under One Flag in Europe. There have been two lineup changes since the recording sessions for "Darkness Descends (1986)" as bassist Rob Yahn has been replaced by Mike Gonzalez (the change happened immediately after the recording sessions for "Darkness Descends (1986)") and potentially a bit more disturbing lead vocalist Don Doty has been replaced by Ron Rinehart.

The latter mentioned does a great job here though, performing his vocal parts with both passion and conviction. He is a raw sounding vocalist and his voice isn´t miles away from Don Doty´s voice. Stylistically the music on "Leave Scars" more or less continues the raw and generally fast-paced thrash metal style of it´s predecessor. In the 3 years between the two albums, Dark Angel have become a bit more compositionally sophisticated though. The lyrics have more depth (mostly written by drummer Gene Hoglan), than on the predecessor and the tracks are generally longer (5 out of 9 tracks are longer than 7 minutes in length) and feature more different riff sections, more guitar solos, and are structurally more complex.

In a lot of positive ways "Leave Scars" is the natural successor to "Darkness Descends (1986)", but not everything are pure bliss on "Leave Scars". First of all the sound production lacks power. The guitars are too low in the mix and the drums often drown in the mix when they play faster parts. The bass drums also have a thumb sound to them that doesn´t bring much power to the music. It´s too bad because it´s obvious that "Leave Scars" features about a million powerful, fast-paced, and edgy thrash metal riffs and some really great drumming by Gene Hoglan, that deserve better. Fortunately the voice production is decent. Another issue is that while the riffs on the album are generally of high quality and nicely aggressive too, some of the tracks feel too long and tedious as a consequence of them featuring too many sections. Especially the 7:20 minutes long instrumental "Cauterization" is a bit of a snore fest. Although pretty short, Dark Angel´s take on the Led Zeppelin classic "Immigrant Song" is also a bit of a showstopper as it doesn´t work well for the overall flow of the album and isolated seen it´s just not a very good cover version.

On the positive side tracks like the opening trio "The Death of Innocence", "Never to Rise Again", and "No One Answers" are aggressive thrash metal tunes delivered with fierce conviction, that fully showcase what Dark Angel were capable of in those years. To be honest I´m a bit biased towards "Leave Scars", because on one hand it´s an album full of the metal virtues I love like fast-paced thrash metal riffing, technical/powerful drumming, and aggressive vocals, but on the other hand it has a tendency to occasionally become a bit overblown and tedious and the muddy sound production doesn´t exactly do the music any favours either. So as much as I would like to rate "Leave Scars" higher, I can´t give more than a 3.5 star (70%) rating.

DARK ANGEL Darkness Descends

Album · 1986 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"Darkness Descends" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Dark Angel. The album was released through Combat Records in November 1986, almost to date two years after the release of their debut full-length studio album "We Have Arrived (1984)". Since the debut album there´s been a lineup change as drummer Jack Schwartz has been replaced by former Slayer drum tech Gene Hoglan.

Compared to "We Have Arrived (1984)", the music style on "Darkness Descends" has changed in a significantly more aggressive and fast-paced direction. The traditional heavy metal elements from the debut are gone and "Darkness Descends" is a 100% raw and aggressive thrash metal release (not completely unlike "Reign in Blood (1986)" by Slayer or "Pleasure to Kill (1986)" by Kreator). The addition of Gene Hoglan to the ranks, has provided Dark Angel with a much more intriguing and tight rhythm section, than the case was on "We Have Arrived (1984)". His fast and precise drumming style and the powerful bass playing by Rob Yahn (who left the band right after the album was finished) drive the aggressive and fast-paced guitar riffing forward in an incredibly powerful fashion. Dark Angel were at this point a very well playing act. Lead vocalist Don Doty delivers a raw and aggressive performance that suits the music perfectly. He doesn´t have the most distinct sounding voice and his staccato delivery is pretty typical for the genre, but his performance is both passionate and convincing.

The material on the 7 track, 35:22 minutes long album is very effective and for the most part furiously fast-paced and aggressive, but tracks like "Hunger of the Undead" and "Black Prophecies" do take the pace down to a mid-paced heavy groove, so while "Darkness Descends" certainly isn´t the most varied thrash metal album out there, Dark Angel do understand the importance of changing pace to keep things at least a bit varied. So the songwriting is inspired and the musicianship strong, but that´s not always enough if you don´t pack your music in a powerful and raw sound production. That´s thankfully the case here though as "Darkness Descends" features a very powerful, raw, and organic sounding production, which suits the music perfectly.

"Darkness Descends" is arguably one of the most relentlessly aggressive and fast-paced thrash metal releases from the mid-80s and for fans of the more brutal, raw, and frenetic part of the genre this is mandatory listening. The album is pretty much one-dimensionally aggressive, so expect very little with resemblance to melody here. If you come to the album with the right expectations you´ll be met with an onslaught of great aggressive thrash metal tunes though. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DARK ANGEL We Have Arrived

Album · 1984 · Thrash Metal
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UMUR
"We Have Arrived" is the debut full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Dark Angel. The album was released through Azra/Metalstorm in November 1984. Dark Angel were pretty active in their formative years, releasing no less than 4 demo tapes before releasing "We Have Arrived".

The music on the album is raw and "in your face" US thrash metal. References to especially early Slayer are obvious ("Show No Mercy (1983)"-era). In that respect Dark Angel aren´t the most original sounding act from those early days of thrash, but they are still widely considererd very influential. The album features a raw and authentic sound production, which goes well along with the raw and unpolished playing on the album. At times it sounds like the material was recorded live in the studio. High energy, fast riffing, pounding drums, and a staccato type thrash metal vocalist who occasionally delivers high pitched screams too.

The material are generally not that interesting. Even this early on in thrash metal history albums by contemporaries like Slayer, Exodus, and Metallica were far better produced, played, and written. So it´s the youthful energy and the high level of aggression that save the day for Dark Angel. "We Have Arrived" is widely considered an US thrash metal "classic", but that doesn´t necessarily mean it´s one of the most high quality albums in the genre. A 2.5 - 3 star (55%) rating is warranted.

DARK ANGEL Live Scars

Live album · 1990 · Thrash Metal
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Vim Fuego
Thrash metal was born in the live arena. Too few live recordings of thrash bands at the genre’s peak in the 1980s were released, and many of those that were released at a later date are sub-standard, like Exodus’ ‘Good Friendly Violent Fun’, and Death Angel’s ‘Fall From Grace’. Fortunately, the live tempest of the blackened lords of thrash Dark Angel was preserved for eternity in this all too brief, but essential mini live album. Recorded in 1989 at The Country Club in Reseda California, ‘Live Scars’ is an amazing document of the sheer intensity and sonic violence this legendary band could produce. You can literally feel the sweat dripping from the walls and smell the bloodlust of the frenzied crowd of bemulleted thrashers.

Despite the speed at which Dark Angel played, their songs were fucking epics. You’d be hard pressed to count all the riffs, keep track of the key changes, and even stay with Ron Rinehart’s vocals on ‘Leave Scars’. ’The Burning of Sodom’ is heavier, faster and tighter than the already impressive studio original.

Strangely, this recording had the best production job of any Dark Angel release up to that point, although ‘Time Does Not Heal’ finally ironed out any studio issues. The riffs will start rabid thrashers drooling, as they cut through crystal clear, as do the leads. Gene Hoglan's drumming is incredibly precise, but also complex and brutal. Rinehart's vocals also surpass his studio efforts. A nice inclusion on this album is the title track from Dark Angel's first album ‘We Have Arrived’. It holds up very well against the later material. At the same time, the song selection is a bit on the fucked up side. Surely Dark Angel would have included ‘The Death of Innocence’ and ‘Merciless Death’ in a live set, but neither appears here.

For a live mini album, the execution is near perfect- a short, sharp blast of thrash fury.

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