Death Angel – A Thrashumentary Directed by Tommy Jones Nuclear Blast 2015 Review by Chris Galea 7/10
As Metal evolved beyond the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) into something rawer and more visceral, several young bands on Los Angeles’ Pacific coast embraced this embryonic sub-genre dubbed ‘Speed Metal’ or ‘Thrash Metal’. Testament, Metallica, Exodus and Forbidden were a few of the emerging crowd-pullers. Death Angel was another…notable for having within its line-up a family of cousins and brothers of Filipino descent. The members of Death Angel were young (their drummer was just 11 years old when the band recorded their seminal debut album) but they were bursting with energy and determination.
“Death Angel – A Thrashumentary” is a documentary chronicling the band’s history via interviews with its members and acquaintances, numerous live excerpts and candid footage. It takes a look into the very beginnings of Death Angel, the band’s first live performance (supporting Megadeth), their first demos (produced by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett) right up to the writing and recordings of their recent albums. And it revisits all the joys, tragedies and notable live shows in between all that.
By 2001 Death Angel had already been laid to rest for about a decade when a benefit show was put together for Chuck Billy (Testament) and Chuck Schuldiner (Death), who had both been struck by cancer. Death Angel were invited to play and the crowd reaction to their performance convinced the band to reunite. Chuck Billy later recalled: “I had to go and get cancer to get Death Angel back together. See how much I love you guys.” Of course, he said that jokingly, but it illustrates the bond and respect that Death Angel enjoyed amongst its peers…something that emerges from this documentary.
“Death Angel – A Thrashumentary” is at once hilarious, sad, intriguing and exciting. The regret of Death Angel’s band members when recounting the departure of previous members highlights their internal bond. But they’re not always so staid…the same guys prove to have a wry sense of humour, such as when their two guitarists ‘complain’ (tongue in cheek, of course) about being harassed by fans.
At over 2 hours’ duration the documentary is quite long. Sometimes it meanders….it becomes a little repetitive. Fans of the music genre and of the band, however, are bound to enjoy it. I know I did. Doubtlessly it provides quite a comprehensive insight into the life of Death Angel.
“…Thrashumentary” ends with Death Angel performing the song ‘Thrown To The Wolves’ in the Philippines and shows the band’s willingness to interact with fans. An appropriate conclusion to this very interesting documentary.
Watch the trailer here:
Death Angel’s latest Acoustic EP “Under Pressure” has just been released digitally via Nuclear Blast!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Victor Augusto’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 By Victor Augusto
Before I let you loose on Victor’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 I would just like to thank him for all of his hard work this year. It’s been great to have you onboard!
Definitely 2019 was not an easy year for me. After a couple of years of intense dedication to my local Heavy Metal scene, I realized I was walking in circles and wasting energies in the middle of many egocentrical people. I also lost time with bands that don’t appreciate my support.
Before I changed my focus to professional bands, I spent a few months trying to recover myself from my mental exhaustion and I wasn’t able to follow all the good releases, but the few I heard were enough for me. So here are my impressions of what were the best this year.
10 – Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement
The UK band Acid Reign appeared at the end of the eighties and quit in the early nineties, but they returned in this decade and let clear to the world that they still can record a killer album. “The Age Of Entitlement” just shows their creativity to play incredible riffs, as a good Thrash Metal band does. The band also explored the melodies of classic British Heavy Metal bands. All of it together with an incredible recording/production was enough to show to the world that Acid Reign is really back.
Since their first years, Kamala wasn’t just a one more awesome band among all other great Brazilian bands. They put some mantras and oriental music to complement their heavy music and built a great name in their country. In this decade they changed their sonority to a straight Thrash Metal and also started to tour in Europe. From all the countries that they played, France was the one that really embraced this trio with the same passion that the band put forward when playing for French Metalheads. “Live in France” is one more brick in this great career in Europe and a great way to show that Kamala is getting bigger, even after almost 17 years on road.
If you think South American Metalheads are insane, you have probably never seen the Chilean ones. Bands from there also have this spirit and you just have to analyze the name Acero Nacional to understand it. The band’s name means “National Steel” and the steel is a reference to the people who works with this metal in metallurgy industries. The band represents the workers in their country and “Trueno” (Thunder in Spanish) sounds like the title; Strong, fast and devastator.
As a fan of extreme Metal I have always loved Fleshgod Apocalypse since the first time I saw the video of ‘The Violation’ in 2012. For me, they are the great new mainstream band that appeared in this decade. Instead the same old stuff from all Death/Black Metal bands; they just put opera and al Italian influence. For my surprise, the band drastically changed their line-up for this album, but I still feel the same spirit in their music. Actually, they are better in my opinion. The songs are not extremely fast all the time as before and the production chose a more organic recording. For me, those changes helped to digest easier all the complexity of their arrangements. I loved as always.
The first time I heard and reviewed Legacy of Kain in 2017, they were just a new band in Brazil, with old musicians that were playing Metalcore/Thrash Metal. I liked them, but the band was not so far my favorite of the year. Now they have changed their lyrics from Portuguese to English and decided to play a strong and furious Thrash Metal with a few elements of Metalcore. All the anger you hear in this new album is from the main theme that is about the slaughter of an Indian tribe in Brazil, which happened in 1963. For sure this record will make you angry too.
Woslom is a very famous Thrash Metal band in Brazil. In this decade they released three great full albums and toured a lot, not only in their country but also in Europe. Again, the band brought a great theme well represented in the cover art. “Paranoia” has a dizzy stairway and the opening riffs of the title track reproduce it too. Despite it is just a four track EP, this record can show what we can expect from the next full album. A technical and crazy Thrash Metal that always surprises the listener.
One detail that makes me admire a specific band is when I have difficulty to find their band’s style. Hatefulmurder in an incredible Heavy Metal band that offers something similar to Thrash Metal, but they sounds as heavy as a Death Metal band. Sometimes the band flees to funky bass lines structure or other styles and is not repetitive with the songs structure. This is the third band’s album and the second with Angelica Burns on vocal. She brought all heaviness with her strong vocal, sometimes similar to Tomas Lindberg voice (At The Gates singer), but the band goes further to any kind of Death Metal. I suggest you listen to “Reborn” and make your own conclusions about it.
Destruction is a band that doesn’t need to be introduced to anyone. I was lucky to see them live twice (in 2016 and 2018) and I even met them backstage for few minutes last year. Schmier, Mike and Andy Black were very polite and I took a pic with them to save this moment in my memory. It was few months before they announced the Damir Eskić and returned to have two guitar players. Probably any Destruction album can easily perform in a top 10 list, but “Born to Perish” has this stronger sonority due the addition of the second guitar and this album sounds even more aggressive than the others.
It is very hard to not love anything that Death Angel release since I showed their concert in my hometown in 2010. That day I was lucky to stand in front of Rob Cavestany and he gave his guitar pick on my hands. He is as gentleman as a great riff composer. Actually he could be considered one of the best riff makers in the Thrash Metal history, but maybe the long time that the band was stopped disrupted the band’s trajectory. What really matters here is the fact that Death Angel released another insane album and I dare any Thrash lover doesn’t bang his head while listening such amazing album.
Before I put this record in the first place of my top 10 albums of 2019, I was really afraid to be unfair with the famous bands that have a great history in Heavy Metal, but DarkTower really touched me with this album. It is not just a matter of how they play Black/Death Metal, but how they put all anger and feeling to illustrate all chaos we live in Brazil. Since the political fights that our people have been doing to how we are losing our culture and our identity as a nation; everything was brilliantly described without attack directly at any side of this war. They just advise how people are stopping to think by themselves and how they have been manipulated by false heroes. Embark on this epical and realistic journey listening to “Obedientia”.
Special mention also has to go out to the following bands:
Miasthenia – Sinfonia Ritual
Here is a great Pagan Black Metal band that is the opposite of bands from this style. “Sinfonia Ritual” is not specifically an album because it shows a symphonic version of five songs from the last three band’s album. It is a great way to enter into the Miasthenia soul and discover how amazing they are.
My special mention goes to The Brazilian Thrashers of Endust that released their first album “All Ends in Dust” even though they have never played any concert ever. Their music is a kind of Thrash with Nevermore influences, which increased melodies and changed the dynamic of this great record.
Another special mention goes for the Canadian band Infrared. They also quit in the eighties and returned this decade. The album “Back To The Warehouse” rescued old compositions that received all aggression of their Thrash Metal.
Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.