Dark Angel formed in Los Angeles in the mid 80's. Dark Angel got their first break when the song 'Welcome To The Slaughterhouse' appeared on the Metal Blade compilation "Metal Massacre VI." Besides the cds listed below, they also have appeared on the Ultimate Revenge 2 Soundtrack.
Dark Angel-We Have Arrived (Dark Realm) 1985
1. "We Have Arrived" (4:03)
2. "Merciless Death" (4:25)
3. "Falling from the Sky" (4:20)
4. "Welcome to the Slaughterhouse" (5:10)
5. "No Tomorrow" (6:27)
6. "Hell's on It's Knees" (4:10)
7. "Vendetta" (4:23)
The very first Dark Angel album. Hmmm, never did understand what all the hoopla was about this one. Some 15 years later and people are still saying that this was one of the greatest thrash albums ever recorded. In my opinion, Dark Angel before Ron Rinehart and Gene Hoglan was the thrash metal version of a B grade horror flick. Sort of like a poor man's Slayer. It just doesn't hold water compared to "Leave Scars" or "Time Does Not Heal." This does not mean I don't like it, I just don't think it's better than the band's last two studio discs. Anyhow, my copy is a digi-pack version with some cool live photos. Special thanks to Olaf for tracking down this one for me. This disc has been released with two different covers.
Dark Angel-Darkness Descends (Century Media) 1986
1. "Darkness Descends" (5:53)
2. "The Burning of Sodom" (3:18)
3. "Hunger of the Undead" (4:18)
4. "Merciless Death" (4:07)
5. "Death is Certain (Life is Not)" (4:18)
6. "Black Prophecies" (8:33)
7. "Perish in Flames" (4:52)
8. "Merciless Death" -live (3:44)
9. "Perish in Flames/Darkness Descends" -live (8:31)
"Darkness Descends" is leaps and bounds better than the debut, in my opinion. By this point Glen Hoglan was on board and totally annihilating with his fierce drum assault. The band by now was possessed with being the most extreme band on the planet, and "Darkness Descends" may very well have achieved that. It isn't until about halfway through the disc that there is even a slow moment, and even this is only a short bass intro for "Merciless Death," one of the best songs the band ever recorded musically. Consequently this song is actually a re-recorded version of a song off the first album. Lyrically the band is focusing on death and hopelessness, with social commentaries and opinions on topics like euthanasia, war, and the doom prophecies of Nostradamus. "The Burning of Sodom" is a song about the Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah with some criticism about Christians who continue to live in and with sin. The Century Media re-issue contains two excellent live bonus tracks although there is little information about these tracks in the liner notes. Both these tracks are from the "Ultimate Revenge 2" compilation. The live songs feature Ron Rinehart on vocals rather than Don Doty. The re-release also features improved sonics and a redesigned insert booklet with photos, lyrics, and a commentary by Gene Hoglan.
Dark Angel-Leave Scars (Combat) 1989
1."The Death of Innocence" (3:47)
2."Never to Rise Again" (3:53)
3."No One Answers" (7:49)
5."Immigrant Song" (1:47)
6."Older Than Time Itself" (6:57)
8."The Promise of Agony" (8:24)
9."Leave Scars" (7:40)
Pure speed! Pure aggression! Pure thrash! One of the original 80's Bay Area bands. This disc features new screamer Ron Rinehart, who in my opinion, is a slightly stronger vocalist than Don Doty. Drummer Gene Hoglan has gone on to do stuff with bands like Death and Testament. I always thought Dark Angel's lyrics on the first two albums were a bit to stereotypical, focusing on "evil" imagery (i.e. "Mercyless Death" & "Perish in Flames"), but by this point they were focusing more on social and personal topics. This made for more interesting and more disturbing songs, in my lonely opinion. This disc was selling for stupid prices on eBay, I got lucky and paid $3.99 in the used bins of Hasting's. (Gotta love a bargain.) In 1999, however, Century Media reissued this disc making the price come way down. Had this one autographed by Ron when I met him in Long Beach, California with his new band Oil in the summer of 2000.
Dark Angel-Live Scars (Century Media) 1989
1."Leave Scars" (9:30)
2."The Burning of Sodom" (3:34)
3."Never to Rise Again" (4:06)
4."Death is Certain (Life is Not)" (3:52)
5."The Promise of Agony" (8:45)
6."We Have Arrived" (4:00)
7."The Death of Innocence" (5:35)
8."I Don't Care About You" (3:22)
A fistful of axe-grinding, thrash metal played before a sold out crowd in D.A.'s home state of California. The entire disc is excellent with the possible exception of the stupid punk cover "I Don't Care About You", originally by Fear. Picked up this German import version just in time to have it autographed by Ron Rinehart when I saw him perform with Oil on May 19, 2001 in Azusa, CA.
Dark Angel-Time Does Not Heal (Century Media) 1991
1."Time Does Not Heal" (6:38)
2."Pain's Invention, Madness" (7:43)
3."Act of Contrition" (6:09)
4."The New Priesthood" (7:13)
6."An Ancient Inherited Shame" (9:15)
7."Trauma and Catharsis" (8:19)
8."Sensory Deprivation" (7:34)
9."A Subtle Induction" (5:09)
Health Warning: this album contains 246 riffs. Well, that be true or not, this is one pummeling thrash album. Unlike it's predecessor, "Time Does Not Heal," slows down a bit here and there which actually makes the disc my favorite as it allows some room to breathe. Even so, few have been able to match the speed or intensity of this disc. Even the modern black metal bands cannot touch this disc. Depending on who you ask, some would say this is a masterpiece, others would say it is the best thrash disc ever. I would agree with both. "Time Does Not Heal" is musically one of the best thrash discs ever.
Lyrically, this album, like "Leave Scars" focuses more on social and personal topics. Several of the songs take a look at religion and how corrupt or frustrating it has become to many. While I do not always agree with their lyrical ideas, I can at least understand most of them. Perhaps if some Christians paid attention to lyrics like this, they would be able to better understand those who disagree with them and would be able to do something about it. One song in particulal, however, I find to be a bit ignorant. "The New Priesthood" makes the claim "we are more than God...History's shown you that answers can't be found above, life's great questions are tackled only by us." OK, whatever! This statement still pisses me off. Maybe that was the whole point of the song but the fact is that history has not proven this. As a matter of fact, history has shown that man's theories on life are usually wrong. Science cannot, and will never be able to explain the origins of life, so to make such a claim is just stupid. There are some things that science cannot even begin to study, like a miracle. But enough of my ranting.
This was the last Dark Angel disc as Ron decided to split and the remaining members decided not to pursue another vocalist. The timing of Ron's decision was real bad, however, as the band had just given away the rights to all their old albums in order to get out of their contract. The reasons for this was they were offered a contract by a major label. So, when the band broke up they had neither the rights to their old material and they were never given advances from their new record company either. Probably for the better, however, seeing as how big labels tend to ruin incredible bands. (ie. Raven, Metallica, etc.) Unfortunately this means that the band is seeing no royalties from the current crop of re-issues. (At least this is the story I have been told. I have also been told by others that the above reason for the band's demise is false, however, my information comes directly from Ron Rinehart and seems to be reinforced on the biography inside the recent re-issue of "Time Does Not Heal," which includes quotes from Gene Hoglan.)
Gene Hoglan has been the most visible of the members since the bands demise adding his incredible drumming skills to Death and Testament before joining Strapping Young Lad. Recently Ron Rinhart has begun to make some noise with his new band Oil. Rumors have spread for years of a Dark Angel reformation but to no avail. My copy of "Time Does Not Heal" was re-released by Century Media in 1999 and included some nice live shots of the band as well as a bio written by Jeff Wagner from Metal Maniacs. I also have this disc autographed by Ron.
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