Death Angel

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Death Angel
Death-Angel-Toronto-11.jpg
Death Angel headlining in Toronto, 2013
Background information
OriginSan Francisco Bay Area, California, United States
GenresThrash metal
Years active1982–1991, 2001–present
LabelsEnigma, Geffen, Nuclear Blast
Associated actsBig Shrimp, The Organization, Swarm
WebsiteOfficial site
MembersRob Cavestany
Mark Osegueda
Ted Aguilar
Will Carroll
Damien Sisson
Past membersDennis Pepa
Gus Pepa
Andy Galeon
Chris Kontos
Sammy Diosdado
 
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Death Angel
Death-Angel-Toronto-11.jpg
Death Angel headlining in Toronto, 2013
Background information
OriginSan Francisco Bay Area, California, United States
GenresThrash metal
Years active1982–1991, 2001–present
LabelsEnigma, Geffen, Nuclear Blast
Associated actsBig Shrimp, The Organization, Swarm
WebsiteOfficial site
MembersRob Cavestany
Mark Osegueda
Ted Aguilar
Will Carroll
Damien Sisson
Past membersDennis Pepa
Gus Pepa
Andy Galeon
Chris Kontos
Sammy Diosdado

Death Angel is a thrash metal band from Concord, California, initially active from 1982 to 1991 and again since 2001. Death Angel has released seven studio albums, two demo tapes, one box set and two live albums.

Two independent releases, The Ultra-Violence (1987) and Frolic Through the Park (1988), attracted the attention of Geffen Records, which signed the quintet in 1989 and released their next album, Act III, one year later. While Death Angel was touring in support of Act III, drummer Andy Galeon was injured in a tour bus accident and needed more than a year to fully recover. This resulted in the band's break up in 1991. However, Death Angel reformed in 2001 (without original guitarist Gus Pepa) at the Thrash of the Titans benefit concert for Testament singer Chuck Billy. The band continues to record and perform today.

History[edit]

Early years (1982–1986)[edit]

Death Angel was formed in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, in 1982 by cousins Rob Cavestany (lead guitar), Dennis Pepa (vocals, bass), Gus Pepa (rhythm guitar), and Andy Galeon (drums) -- all of Filipino descent. After considering a number of different names for the band, including Dark Fury, Cavestany and D. Pepa settled on the name Death Angel after coming across a book by that title in a book store.[1] In 1983, the band released their first demo, Heavy Metal Insanity, with Matt Wallace serving as producer. According to Mark Osegueda, the group was then "more like a metal band, more like Iron Maiden, Tygers Of Pan Tang and stuff like that," as the so-called Bay Area thrash movement was only just beginning to rise to prominence at the time and make its influence felt.[2] Osegueda, a second cousin of the other four members who had been working as their roadie, became the group's vocalist in 1984 and performed his first show with the band on a bill with Megadeth in April of that year (at one of the four Megadeth gigs to feature Kerry King on guitar).[2]

Death Angel continued to play club gigs in and around the San Francisco Bay area for nearly two years, writing songs and refining their stage show. In 1986, the band recorded the Kill As One demo with Metallica's Kirk Hammett (whom they had met at a record store signing in 1983) as producer. The underground tape trading wave of the early 1980s led to extensive distribution of the demo, bringing the band wide attention. Osegueda later recalled that prior to the release of the band's first album, "We were playing in L.A. and New York, and the crowd was singing our songs, because there was this underground tape trading .... That's what keeps it alive, and I think that's absolutely wonderful." [2]

The Ultra-Violence and Frolic Through The Park (1987–1989)[edit]

The success of Kill As One led to a record deal with Enigma Records, who released Death Angel's debut album, The Ultra-Violence, in 1987. The band recorded the album when all the band members were still under 20 years old. A video was filmed for "Voracious Souls," a song about a band of cannibals, but it never aired on MTV due to the nature of the lyrics. The group released the follow-up album Frolic Through The Park in 1988, which spawned the single "Bored" (which was also used in the 1990 movie Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), the video for which did receive regular airplay on MTV's Headbanger's Ball. Frolic featured more diverse material than the straightforward thrash of the first album; the album included a cover of Kiss's "Cold Gin," and the relatively light, playful "Bored" was written under the seemingly unlikely influence of U2, and the guitar playing of The Edge in particular.[1] The band toured worldwide for the first time and found notable success in Japan, selling out two full Japanese tours.

Act III and breakup (1989–1991)[edit]

Geffen Records bought out the band's contract with Enigma Records in 1989 and released the third Death Angel album, Act III, in 1990. Produced by Max Norman (who had previously worked with Ozzy Osbourne and Megadeth), the album showcased the band's newfound use of full-band backing vocals, while fusing elements of funk, thrash, and heavy metal with the use of acoustic guitars to give the album a varied feel, while staying true to the group's heavy roots. The album featured the singles "Seemingly Endless Time" and "A Room with a View" (a ballad sung mostly by guitarist Rob Cavestany), and both songs also received airplay on Headbangers Ball, but a mainstream breakthrough still proved elusive. (The band released the "A Room with a View" video and single under the name "D.A.," and Cavestany explained to a reporter at the time that he now found the band's original name "Restricting. The name Death Angel seems to imply hardcore thrash gloom-and-doom death metal, and we're not like that at all. If I were presented with 10 records, and one of them was by a band called Death Angel, and I'd never heard of them, I'd stick that one on the bottom!") [3]

Also in 1990, Enigma Records — after already having sold its interest in the band to the Geffen label — illegally released and distributed Fall from Grace, an unauthorized bootleg live album featuring songs from their first two releases recorded at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The album was released without any input from the band members with regard to its songs, contents, credits, concepts, or artwork. The band learned of its existence when they stumbled upon it in a record store in Tucson, Arizona on the night prior to suffering a near-fatal auto accident (see below). Enigma Records folded after the release, cashing in on the sales. The album was also, possibly illegally, picked up, manufactured and distributed by Capitol Records.

Death Angel had embarked on what was scheduled to be a worldwide tour in support of Act III in 1990, selling out shows at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, The Ritz in New York, and England's Hammersmith Odeon. The band was also slated to be the opening act for the "Clash of the Titans" tour featuring Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax later in the year (but were ultimately replaced by Alice in Chains, since they were unable to perform). Additionally, Death Angel and Geffen were planning to release a live album recorded at shows in the Bay Area, and the band was intending to tour a number of other countries it had not previously visited.

But in late 1990, while driving in Arizona en route to a show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the group's tour bus crashed, and drummer Andy Galeon was critically injured, needing more than a year to recover. Cavestany said at the time that "[i]n a way, it made perfect sense to have a major accident right now, it really fit the story line. We've been pushing so hard for 8 years and just not getting that far, and getting so frustrated with not being where we should be after so long, it was time for something climactic to happen!" [3] Following the accident, Geffen Records and the band's manager pressured the group to hire another drummer and immediately go back to work. The band performed a few shows in Japan with a different drummer, but when they declined to hire a long-term replacement, Geffen Records dropped them.

Osegueda left the group and moved to New York to pursue a life outside of music, and Cavestany later explained that "[w]e weren't going to try to replace him and with all that stuff happening we were just totally disgusted at how things had turned out and we felt that this was a sign that the band was not going to go on." [4] The remaining members performed a few acoustic-only shows in the Bay Area, appearing as "The Past."

Post-breakup (1991–2002)[edit]

In the summer of 1991, with Galeon fully recovered, Death Angels remaining members, minus Osegueda, reformed under the name The Organization (which was the title of a song on Act III), with Cavestany taking over lead vocal duties. The band focused more on funk and alt-rock than traditional metal. The Organizations first demo was recorded and produced at City College of San Francisco's multitrack studios by Eric Kauschen and Dana Galloway.

The Organization toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe, including two appearances at the Dynamo Open Air Festival in the Netherlands, a support slot on Rob Halford's "Fight" tour, and as the main support act for Motörhead in Europe. However, both 1993's The Organization and 1995's Savor the Flavor albums, which were distributed by Metal Blade Records, failed to make waves with the record-buying public, and Cavestany and Galeon decided to disband.

In 1998, Cavestany and Galeon reunited with Osegueda for the first time since 1990. Along with bassist Michael Isaiah, they formed Swarm and released a four-track self-titled EP in 1999, and the five-song Devour EP in 2000. Swarm toured with Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains in 2000, and released the compilation album Beyond the End, which combined the contents of the two EPs with a cover of The Doors' "My Eyes Have Seen You," in 2003. Although Swarm did not become a commercial success, it did bring the core members of Death Angel back together, setting up an official reunion.

Reunion and The Art of Dying (2001–2007)[edit]

Death Angel officially reunited in August 2001 for Thrash of the Titans, a cancer benefit show for Testament frontman Chuck Billy. Original guitarist Gus Pepa could not participate in the reunion since he was out of the country. At Cavestany's suggestion, and with Gus's blessing, the band enlisted longtime friend and fan Ted Aguilar to handle rhythm guitar duties. Originally planned as a one-off show, the band received such a positive response that they played a string of other well-received gigs around the San Francisco area, and a pair of European tours — despite the band not having issued an album in over a decade. They also participated in Wacken Open Air 2004.

In 2004, 14 years after their last album, the band released The Art of Dying on Nuclear Blast records. Archives and Artifacts, a box set with remastered versions of the long out-of-print The Ultra-Violence and Frolic Through The Park, along with a bonus Rarities CD and DVD, followed in 2005.

Osegueda has since announced his involvement in the band All Time Highs, but has emphasized that he intends to remain a member of Death Angel.[5] In August 2007, Cavestany released a solo CD of acoustic songs, Lines on the Road, the material on which was written in collaboration with Gus Pepa, and performed by Cavestany (vocals, bass, guitar) Gus Pepa (guitar) and Galeon (drums).

Killing Season (2007–2009)[edit]

In April 2007, they headlined the seventh Pulp Summer Slam in the Philippines. Killing Season, recorded at Dave Grohl's Studio 606 in Northridge, California, was released on February 26, 2008. Death Angel's video for "Dethroned," a track off Killing Season, debuted online on Thursday, April 17, 2008, on Headbangers Blog.

At the October 28 show at the Grand in San Francisco, Death Angel announced that founding member Dennis Pepa would be leaving the band and the show would be his final live performance with the band.[6]

On January 10, 2009, Death Angel announced the addition of bassist Sammy Diosdado to the group's ranks. Diosdado is a Bay Area native who previously played with the San Francisco hardcore band The Sick and is a member of the rock and roll outfit All Time Highs, which is fronted by Osegueda.[7]

Relentless Retribution (2009–2012)[edit]

On May 28, 2009, Death Angel announced founding member Andy Galeon had quit the band, leaving Cavestany as the only founding member left in the band. He was replaced on tour by Will Carroll (formerly of Scarecrow, Old Grandad and Vicious Rumors).[8]

Relentless Retribution was released on September 3, 2010 in Europe. The album was recorded at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida with producer Jason Suecof (Trivium, August Burns Red, The Black Dahlia Murder, All That Remains, Whitechapel, DevilDriver),[9] and was the first Death Angel album done without longtime drummer Andy Galeon as well as its first done without either of the Pepa cousins.

The Dream Calls for Blood (2013–present)[edit]

Death Angel performing in Toronto, 2013

Death Angel released The Dream Calls for Blood on 11 October 2013. The album landed at 72 on the Billboard 200.[10]

They have also reissued The Ultra-Violence which has been out of print for almost ten years.[citation needed]

Band Members[edit]

Members[edit]

Current members
Former members

Lineups[edit]

Timeline[edit]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]