Among the youngest bands ever to storm the metal genre, Death Angel has come to be known as one of the most influential bands to emerge from the thriving Bay Area Thrash Metal Scene in the early 1980s. An era when one could catch Cliff Burton (Metallica) at the front of the stage at Ruthie’s Inn banging his head to Death Angel’s inventive style, and speedy, complex arrangements.
In 1986 a Death Angel demo produced by Kirk Hammett (Metallica) titled “Kill As One” sparked the interest of Enigma Records. Then, in 1987, Death Angel’s debut “The Ultra- Violence” was released. Drummer Andy Galeon was just 14 years old at the time. The album was a full-frontal assault on the ears, buzzing with the group’s youthful energy, and “The Ultra Violence” sold 40,000 copies in just four months.
Another innovative recording, “Frolic Through the Park”, followed, marking Death Angel’s evolution both lyrically and musically. “Bored“, another track from the band’s second release, highlighted the cutting-edge band’s inventive dynamics and won a spot on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball.
Geffen Records was impressed with Death Angel’s television premier and offered the band a deal. Death Angel became the first band of their breed to appear on the major label’s roster. At Geffen, the band released what is widely regarded as one of the most original and accomplished thrash metal albums ever recorded – “Act III”.
The record pushed the limits of the genre to create something truly unique – a definitive work that is essential to any metal fan’s music collection. Death Angel’s masterful songwriting ability was once again on display nationwide in 1990 as the videos for “Seemingly Endless Time“ and „Room With A View“ saw heavy rotation on MTV.
Death Angel’s world tour between 1986 and 1990 included two sold-out tours of Japan. In fact, nearly every date on the Act III World Tour, which included storied venues such as The Warfield Theater in San Francisco, The Ritz in New York, and England’s Hammersmith Odeon were sold out to capacity. This was a remarkable achievement for any band, but particularly stunning for such a young group, not to mention one comprised of cousins.
Death Angel’s trajectory to fame was tragically cut short in 1990, when the band’s tour bus crashed in the Arizona desert. Drummer Andy Galeon was critically injured and would need more than a year to recover. During this downtime vocalist Mark Osegueda left the band and moved to New York to pursue a life outside of music. The remaining members went on to form The Organization and released two full-length albums under that name. The “O”, as they came to be known, toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, including two appearances at Holland’s famed Dynamo Open Air Festival, a support slot on Rob Halford’s “Fight” tour and as the main support for the Motorhead tour in Europe. After the “O” disbanded in 1995, the band members went on to pursue other musical projects, including “The Past,” (Rob, Andy, Dennis, Gus), Big Shrimp (Dennis, Andy), Smokestack (Rob, Andy), Silver Circus (Mark), and Swarm (Rob, Andy, Mark). Swarm toured the United States for three months in 2001, supporting Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains).
Death Angel unexpectedly resurfaced in 2001 to perform, what was thought to be a one time show, at “Thrash of the Titans” (a cancer benefit for a fellow Bay Area thrash veteran) – a moment the band members had never imagined would happen. This time with Bay Area guitarist, Ted Aguilar filling the spot of original guitarist, Gus Pepa. The response from fans across the globe regarding the reunion was so great and many offers came quickly. They soon found themselves scheduled for a “secret” headline gig in San Francisco. They had sold the show out under the psuedo name “Kill As One.” This was followed by two dates in Holland including the famed Dynamo Open Air Festival and a pre-event show at the Efenaar club in Eindhoven which sold out before the band headed for Europe. Death Angel was back!
The next year saw the band supporting Metallica at the Fillmore in San Francisco and Anthrax and Halford in other venues in the US. What began as a gathering for a benefit show became the continuation of a journey that began so long ago. In 2004 Death Angel released their long awaited fourth studio disc, “The Art of Dying” on Nuclear Blast. A natural progression from “Act III“, the new album delivered straight thrash metal with diverse musicality. The album received rave reviews worldwide.
The brutal thrasher “Thrown to the Wolves”, the melodic doom of “The Devil Incarnate” and the speed rock of “Thicker than Blood” proved to fans that they didn’t miss a beat and the natural musicianship among them was undeniable. The band hit the road to support the album, embarking on an extensive tour with festival appearances in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Mexico and Japan. The group found themselves sharing the bill with many of their early influences from UFO, Alice in Chains, The Exploited, and Guns n Roses.
In 2007 Death Angel were invited by Dave Grohl to record their fifth studio album at Studio 606 in Southern California, an opportunity not to pass up. That autumn the band entered the studio with producer extraordinaire, Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Alice In Chains, Deftones, Shadows Fall). “Killing Season” was released in February of 2008.
A rigorous touring schedule followed and the boys spent the next 2 years mostly on the road in support of “Killing Season” which included their first full blown U.S. Tour since 1990, their debut tour of Australia and countless open air festivals all across Europe.
During this tour cycle, the band recorded their first ever official live concert DVD which features a searing performance at the “Rock Hard Open Air” Festival, as well as a headline club show set from the “Killing Season” tour, giving the fans two shows for the price of one. This live DVD was released under the title “Sonic German Beatdown” in the Spring of 2009. The release included both DVD + audio CD of the Rock Hard Festival set which would be the first live album released of the band since the infamous „Fall From Grace“.
During a rigurous touring cycle and approaching the time to begin writing a new album, the band faced line up changes. Something that every band hopes it will not experience, especially when you have been writing together since teenagers. But, desire and perserverance kept Rob, Mark and Ted pushing forward. Will Carroll (Old Grandad), on drums, came in to help the band carry out their tour cycle and naturally transitioned into holding a permanent spot in the band. Damien Sisson (Potential Threat/Points North) joined them on bass just as they began to craft songs for a new album. All members, collectively, have known each other for years and some involved in previous musical projects together. It didn’t take much time to recognize how they would feed off of each other musically in this band. The energy in Death Angel had been renewed!
The madmen entered AudioHammer Recording Studios by the end of February to begin tracking the new album. Recording out of California for the first time, they found themselves in Sanford, Florida laying down the sound with Producer Jason Suecof who co-produced the album with Rob. Three weeks later the band was in Europe on tour. By mid April, Mark and Rob were back in Florida to finish the recording. 4 weeks later the band was back on tour in Europe with the album ready to be mixed.
By the time Death Angel hit the road in the US (supporting Soilwork) in July 2010, they had a new album completed. Mixed by Jason Suecof and Mastered at Sterling Sound in New York by Ted Jensen, the beast was ready to be unleashed! The US Tour wrapped up on the East Coast in August and “Relentless Retribution” was released worldwide to stellar reviews in September of 2010. Relentless Retribution was a proud accomplishment by all members of Death Angel. The album had proven to the band and their fans that the creative foundation of Death Angel was still intact…and growing stronger.
Completely fired up, they headed for South America for the first time ever in October – November then immediately over to Europe to join Kreator, Exodus and Suicidal Angels for Thrashfest 2010 which took them through the end of the year.
Not allowing themselves too much downtime, 2011 kicked off with the first 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise. A metal voyage from Florida to Mexico – 4 days/40 bands including Testament, Exodus, Death Angel and Forbidden. Who, despite all being born out of the same Bay Area Thrash movement in the 80s, have never played together on one bill! An excellent way to kick off the first metal cruise of its kind in the US! Directly following the cruise the “North American Retribution Tour” began with their first full-on headline tour of the states since the “ACT III Tour” in 1990.
They continued on with their relentless touring style for over two years which then brought them to the 25th Anniversary of their debut album – „The Ultra-Violence“. In celebration of what is considered by many as a classic and highly influencial thrash metal work of art, they hit the road in Europe to deliver the album live in it’s entirety.
Their US fans aggressively demanded the anniversary show in their homeland and so the band jumped on another tour bus to continue the anniversay celebration across North America, which ended in the Bay Area. The perfect way to welcome the band home after a brutal touring cycle. After 3 years of intense touring, it was finally time to get to work on finishing the new album.