Live Music + Gig Reviews

Death Angel @ Garage, London

15 July 2004

Death Angel

Death Angel

A single, solitary tout trying to ply his trade outside a eerily silent Garage doesn’t fill one with confidence for a band who are making their “triumphal return to form” with their first world tour in over a decade on the back of latest release The Art Of Dying.

Despite the morose aura that permeates from the box office, one band with everything to prove are London based thrashers Descent. They’re off to a good start if the bouncers’ reaction is anything to go by, barely a bar into their set and he is furiously unwrapping his disposable earplugs amidst a barrage of somewhat less than affectionate expletives.

Providing some high class grindcore that is all too rare these days, stopping only to interject “If you’re not drinking beer or head banging; you’re rubbish!”,Descent are pedigree metallers. Finale number Reveal is undoubtedly the highlight of their set, and displays the kind of original thrash groove that ‘nu-old-skool’ bands like Killswitch Engage are built upon.

Many a balding, stud clad Death Angel fan can be seen yawning and hoping they make it in on time to the IT office in the morning as a lengthy set change puts somewhat of a dampener in the air. All is forgiven, however, as the classical symphony pumps through the PA, and amidst red smoke and many a raised fist, the Bay Area metal legends take to the stage dreadlocks-a-flailing, to “Revel and celebrate in our past, present and future!”

They certainly don’t disappoint: The opening track captures the fans a treat, drawing them to the stage like flies to a flame. Freedom quickly follows and proves to any critic that, despite being passed it, these boys care about this mid week gig, and work the crowd like they only just got signed.

Lead single from their first album in 14 years, Thicker Than Blood goes down even better than the band expect, with Mark Osegueda slipping in a surprised “Thank you!” as he is deafeningly rewarded after holding out the mic for audience vocals in the chorus.

Classics like Ultra Violence‘s Veracious Souls and Disturbing The Peace from their seminal 1990release Act III go down an absolute storm, belted out with passion and joy by band and fans alike. For a band who are such veterans of much bigger venues,Death Angel sound and look amazing, and more importantly, genuinely care about the half full Garage on this overcast summer night.

They may be ebbing ever closer to being labelled old farts, (despite the fact that colleagues Metallica and Slayer are still playing from strength to strength) but tonight Death Angel are akin to a fine malt whisky; with age only serving to improve and enrich their flavour.

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Death Angel @ Garage, London