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Music / Death Angel

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Death Angel is an American thrash metal band. Once the babies of the Bay Area thrash scene, their persistence and drive turned them into a well-respected institution of the scene that carried on through their inactive years and led to a fruitful reunion as one of the bigger names in thrash.

Formed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1982 by Rob Cavestany, Gus Pepa (guitars), Dennis Pepa (bass, vocals), and Andy Galeon (drums), they started off as a very NWOBHM-influenced act that was little more than a garage band that mostly played backyard parties and high school showcases (plus the few clubs that would let people that young play), though they managed to record Heavy Metal Insanity, their first demo, in 1983. Their cousin and roadie Mark Osegueda wound up joining as a dedicated vocalist the following year, and Dennis Pepa stepped down from lead vocals. They continued to play the area and built up a reputation as a local favorite and a reliable opener who had earned the respect of many of the older and bigger bands, and Kill as One, their first demo with Osegueda and the beginning of their thrash sound, was recorded and released in 1985. Tape trading spread it far and wide and made them a name, and ultimately led to a deal with Enigma Records. The Ultra-Violence, their full-length debut, was released in 1987, and that marked the beginning of their touring days. Frolic Through the Park, their second full-length, was released the following year, with something of a quirkier take on their style, and the success of "Bored" on MTV, coupled with equally successful worldwide touring, made it their breakthrough hit. This was followed up with a contract with Geffen Records and the release of Act III in 1990, a further exploration of the more unorthodox elements from their previous album. The band was, by all means, ready to blow up.

This changed at some point in 1991, when the band's tour bus crashed. Andy Galeon was severely injured and there was a real question of whether he was ever going to play again; with the band floating in limbo as is, Mark Osegueda decided to quit later that year to go back to school, and the band folded. Cavestany and the Pepas played a few local acoustic sets as "The Past", and Andy Galeon managed to recover later that year; with Andy back in action, the other three decided to reform as The Organization to explore a Funk Metal style. The Organization saw some minor success but failed to really take off, while Osegueda himself auditioned for Joey Belladonna's spot in Anthrax. The Organization folded in 1995 after Dennis Pepa quit, and both Cavestany and Galeon reunited with Osegueda in 1998 and formed Swarm along with Michael Isaiah on bass. Swarm also did not go anywhere, but it got people on good terms again. Death Angel then officially reunited in 2001 for the Thrash of the Titans benefit show for Chuck Billy. Gus Pepa could not make the reunion but urged them to do the show without him, and the decision was made to draft their friend Ted Aguilar for the event. While they initially had no intention of going past that one show, the reception they received was positive enough that they did a small string of local shows. Having realized that they missed playing shows together and still had that musical chemistry, they embarked on several European tours. It was official: Death Angel was back.

The band then went on to sign a deal with Nuclear Blast Records, and The Art of Dying, their first full-length in fourteen years, was released in 2004, followed by Archives and Artifacts, a boxset containing their first two albums, a rarities compilation, and a video compilation, which hit the following year. The band toured for the next three years and eventually found time to return to the studio, where they recorded Killing Season. That album saw an early 2008 release and the band toured steadily throughout the year, though the band would announce at a hometown show that October that Dennis Pepa was leaving and that that show would be his final one with the band. Sammy Diosdado took Dennis' spot at the beginning of the following year, while Andy Galeon himself would leave a few months later and gave his spot to Will Carroll. Diosdado did not work out, and after a brief run as a fill-in, Damien Sisson took his spot. This lineup ran into the studio to record Relentless Retribution, their sixth full-length, which was released in September of 2010. The next few years were filled with heavy touring, and 2013's The Dream Calls for Blood was recorded early that year and marked a return to an old-school thrash style. The next seven years proved uneventful until a European tour with Exodus (Band) and Testament in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Will Carroll becoming deathly ill and spending almost two weeks on a ventilator, though he ultimately survived and is currently undergoing physical therapy. As per Carroll, Cavestany has been using quarantine to write new material and has sent him files of potential new songs.


  • Heavy Metal Insanity (1983) (demo)
  • Kill as One (1985) (demo)
  • The Ultra-Violence (1987)
  • Bored (1988) (single, also saw a 7" release with their cover of "Cold Gin")
  • Frolic Through the Park (1988)
  • A Room with a View (1990) (single, was also released as a promotional cassette with several other songs from Act III)
  • Act III (1990)
  • Fall from Grace (1990) (live album, not an officially authorized release)
  • The Art of Dying (2004) (promo EP)
  • The Art of Dying (2004)
  • Archives and Artifacts (2005) (boxset containing the first two albums, a rarities comp, and a video comp; the rarities comp also saw a separate release)
  • The Long Road Home (2007) (compilation, only released in the Philippines as a promotional item)
  • Death Angel/Arsis (2008) (split)
  • Sonic Beatdown (2008) (single)
  • Killing Season (2008)
  • Sonic German Beatdown - Live in Germany (2009) (live CD + DVD)
  • Relentless Retribution (2010)
  • The Art of Dying/Killing Season (2013) (reissue bundle)
  • The Dream Calls for Blood (2013)
  • The Bay Calls for Blood - Live in San Francisco (2015) (live album)
  • A Thrashumentary (2015) (DVD, also has The Bay Calls for Blood bundled in)
  • The Evil Divide (2016)
  • Humanicide (2019)

I warned you! I'll stay true! Keep on troping for the rest of my life!:

  • Ascended Extra: Ted Aguilar was a longtime fan of the band and a good friend of theirs who was initially just an emergency fill-in, but was enfolded into the band after they decided to reunite on a permanent basis, while Damien Sisson started off as a live fill-in before joining full-time.
  • Badass Family: The founding lineup were all cousins, and Mark Osegueda was their second cousin.
  • Child Popstar: Andy Galeon was only ten when they formed, and was barely out of middle school by the time they started touring. The others weren't much older, as none of them were over the age of fifteen when they formed, and Mark Osegueda was around that age when he joined in 1984.
  • Cover Version: "Cold Gin", "Heaven and Hell", and "Wasteland".
  • Epic Rocking: "The Ultra-Violence" (10:33), "Claws in So Deep" (7:44), "Intro/Thrown to the Wolves" (7:26), "Confused" (7:23), "Thrashers" (7:12), "Resurrection Machine" (6:58), "Territorial Instinct/Bloodlust" (6:37), "Shores of Sin" (6:25), "Spirit" (6:23), "Opponents at Sides" (6:21), "Immortal Behated" (6:08), "The Devil Incarnate" (6:05), and "Final Death" (6:04).
  • Funk Metal: They began to explore this sound on Frolic Through the Park and played with it some more on Act III, then went on to further explore it as The Organization. They continued to explore it for the start of their reunion, but abandoned it by the 2010s.
  • Horrible History Metal: "Mind Rape", about the Manson Family murders.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: "Voracious Souls", about a cannibal cult.
  • Instrumentals: "The Ultra-Violence".
  • Heavy Meta: "Thrashers", "Kill as One" and "Devil's Metal".
  • Long Runner Lineup: The Osegueda/Cavestany/Aguilar/Sisson/Carroll lineup is a Type 4, having continued uninterrupted since 2009.
  • Metal Band Mascot: The skull-crowned wolf pack has become this for them as of the 2010s.
  • Metal Scream: Mark Osegueda is a Type 1 and a Type 4, and is famous for his extraordinarily high shrieks, though age has limited his ability to pull them off and he mostly sticks to a Type 1 these days.
  • New Sound Album: A few:
    • The Kill as One demo was a Genre Shift to thrash metal.
    • Frolic Through the Park introduced Funk Metal and Alternative Rock elements.
    • Act III further emphasized the funk and alternative elements from the previous release, and also introduced acoustic ballads to their sound. They would opt to keep this style for the first two reunion releases.
    • Relentless Retribution brought back a lot of thrash to their sound, though they still had a lot of stylistic leftovers from Act III.
    • The Dream Calls for Blood completely abandoned the Act III elements and took a purely modern thrash-oriented approach, codifying their modern style.
  • Power Ballad: "Word to the Wise" and "Resurrection Machine".
  • Revisiting the Roots: The Dream Calls for Blood was something of a spiritual one of these; while not particularly close to their early sound, it nonetheless abandoned the Funk Metal and Alternative Rock elements that had been a prominent part of their sound from Frolic Through the Park up to Relentless Retribution and embraced a completely thrash-oriented sound, codifying the modern Death Angel sound that has continued uninterrupted since then.
  • Rock-Star Song: "Road Mutants".
  • Special Guest: They have had appearances from Rodrigo y Gabriela, Jason Suecof, Andreas Kisser, and Alexi Laiho on album, while Chris Kontos and Steev Esquivel (Skinlab, ex-Defiance) were strictly live fill-ins.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Veil of Deception" and "A Room with a View" on Act III were both acoustic ballads, while "Volcanic" was this for Relentless Retribution.
  • Thrash Metal: They picked up this sound on Kill as One, and then began mixing it with Funk Metal and Alternative Rock on Frolic Through the Park and kept that blend of styles for a while. They would later go back to a straightforward thrash style on The Dream Calls for Blood, which they have kept since then.
  • Token Minority: The founding lineup (and, by extent, Mark Osegueda) was famous for being entirely Filipino-American, though they did not make it over to the Philippines proper until the 2000s.
  • Too Qualified to Apply: Why Mark Osegueda was not hired on by Anthrax; while impressed by his audition, he was, by their own admission, "too metal" for the sound they wanted to explore at the time.