As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic grips the world the music world has already lost legends of yore and star hitmakers. The metal world has been affected as well. Legends like Chuck Billy and Gary Holt were on tour together in Europe at the dawn the outbreak. Another rocker on that tour was good guy and drummer of Death Angel of Will Carroll was severely stricken by the coronavirus and was on a ventilator and in a coma for two weeks. Will has recovered although he is still in the hospital, he has sent a message to fans, thanking them for their love and support. Continue reading
In a statement to fans, Testament has announced that vocalist Chuck Billy has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Billy had “been feeling unwell” since returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area last week following the completion of “The Bay Strikes Back 2020” European tour with Exodus and Death Angel. The 57-year-old Billy, who didn’t reveal if he had any idea how he contracted the virus, says he has been quarantined since arriving home. Other members of “The Bay Strikes Back 2020” tour that has reported illness are Exodus founder Gary Holt and Death Angel drummer Will Carroll who is in the ICU in San Francisco and said to be very ill. Continue reading
Gary Holt has made a public post making a please for fans to send best wishes and good vibes to Death Angel’s drummer, Will Carroll, who is “very ill” in an intensive care unit at a Northern California hospital. Gary previously posted that he was exhibiting all the symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, keeping him and his wife Lisa in quarantine. Gary’s band Exodus, just came back from the Bay Strikes Back tour with both Death Angel and Testament as the headliner, Will’s fiancée Leeshawn Navarro checked in from San Francisco’s California Pacific Medical Center on Wednesday (March 18) to say that she brought him to the emergency room because he has been “very sick” since returning from a European tour earlier in the month. She also asked his friends to send him “positive healing thoughts.”. Will is also a host on Gimmie Radio and one of the greatest guys in the business. We hope he makes a full recovery soon.
Full disclosure: I’ve been a Death Angel fan since Frolic Through the Park (Restless/Enigma) in 1988. I remember my sister and I blasting ‘Bored’ and singing along. It’s been a sort of anthem for us ever since. Twenty-eight years later, Death Angel is still killing it onstage and on cassette. Do they still make those? No? OK. Then you must go forth and purchase on CD The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast). The Evil Divide is classic Death Angel done to perfection.
The album opens with ‘The Moth’. It sets the tone for massive amounts of head banging to come. ‘Cause for Alarm’ has the most blistering guitar work of all time. Ted Aguilar is just gobsmackingly amazing on guitar. We should make #musiciancrushmonday a thing and Ted can be our first guitar crush! ‘Lost’ kicks us right in the feels with the lyrics. “Can anybody save me now? Exposed I stand alone…I close my eyes and let it go with one final breath of shame.” Mark Osegueda’s voice is like buttuh! Buttuh! I tellz ya! He rips into your soul and sings it to shreds.
‘It Can’t Be This’ opens with the most groovilicious bass line from Damien Sisson is wicked. The entire song has this funk groove that makes the hips move. It has faint shades of the guitar tone in Slayer’s ‘Dead Skin Mask’. It may be written in the same key. ‘Breakaway’ provides some excellent circle pit action. Well, it would if circle pits were still a thing that is done. I can’t wait to hear these songs live!
Every tune on The Evil Divide is jaw-dropping. Then you whoop! with excitement and commence to thrashing about the room. Musically, it’s tight. The precision in which Mark, Ted, Damian, Rob Cavestany, and Will Carroll execute their respective instruments shows consistency and diligence. The quality of production allows each note to coalesce and form an album that ingrains itself into your psyche and stays with you all day and night. The Evil Divide is a whole body experience: mind, soul, body. Every part of you is intimately engaged.
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Three-decades into a career that has seen the kinds of highs and lows that most bands that few else could make it through, Death Angel is riding as high as ever. Emerging a mere teens in the second wave of Bay Area Thrash, Death Angel evolved from rambunctious youths to one of the fiercest bands on the planet. Rough life experiences can leave you with scars, but it’s what you do with those marks on the tableau of your psyche that define you, that guide you. For a band, that from the beginning was made up of family members, they have been re-writing the end of that script for over fifteen years.
A Thrashumentary (Nuclear Blast) starts like a standard band DVD with the history and the making of type of things you always want to see. The archival footage of the bands earliest shows, including their very first opening for Megadeth at San Francisco’s seminal metal haunt The Stone, are an amazing look into the genesis of a band. They transformed early from a more NWOBHM sound to thrash over their first few years in existence. One of their earliest and ongoing patrons has been Kirk Hammett of Metallica who produced their first demos. Hearing tales of how the nascent band booked a national tour on the strength of hastily made three song demo tape makes the legends come true. This band was built for greatness from the start. Terrific early accounts from thrash kings such as Gary Holt, Scott Ian, Charlie Benante, Chuck Billy, Scott Ian, Andres Kisser discuss the formation of the group and the legit early hype around them. The story of the band is re-told trough the eyes of the current band, and their continuing story takes shape over the course of two hours. Their awful bus accident that changed their lives forever in 1990, critically injuring founding drummer Andy Galeon, and ultimately leading to the end of the band at that time. The accounts are harrowing, and will shake you to your core.
Reuniting for Chuck Billy’s benefit concert “Thrash of the Titans” in 2001 sowed the seed for the band to reform and stay together. Although only Rob Cavestany and Mark Osesgueda remain today from the early core lineup, the band is as strong as ever with Ted Aguilar, Will Carroll and Damien Sisson. Death Angel are one of the most potent veteran thrash bands around. It’s great to see some of their more modern contemporaries, such as Chris Adler and Michael Amott talk shop about the band too. The more recent live footage of the band is phenomenal and another highlight of the DVD. The CD portion of the package is also a great live document to have for fans. A Thrashumentary is a great way to appreciate one of the scene’s most vital groups, then and now.