Death Angel

Death Angel is a California American Thrash metal band formed in 1982 in San Francisco’s famous Bay Area. It is one of the main bands of the genre, alongside big names such as Exodus, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and Testament.

Some curiosities of the band are that, when it was formed, the members, Mark Osegueda (Vocals), Rob Cavestany (Guitar), Gus Pepa (Guitar), Dennis Pepa (Bass) and Andy Galeon (Drums), were very young, the oldest being 15 years old. In addition, they all have Filipino origins and are first cousins, except for lead singer Mark, who is second cousin.

Of all the young bands in the heavy metal genre, Death Angel was known as the most influential emerging from the Bay Area Thrash metal scene in the 1980s. The band started out playing concerts on stages such as Ruthie’s Inn and soon gained prominence for their creative, fast-paced, and intricately arranged sound, making their mark on the style known as Thrash Metal.

In 1986, Kirk Hammett produced a demo of Death Angel, and the band himself chose the name “Kill As One”, exposing the band to the interest of Enigma Records. Then, in 1987, Death Angel released “The Ultra-Violence”, their very technical and well-crafted first album, a pre-thrash-progressive with a 10-minute long song, the well-crafted instrumental “The Ultra-Violence”.
Drummer Andy Galeon was only 14 years old at the time. The young and vibrant energy made this album sell 40,000 copies in only four months.

After this album, the band records exposed more of their creative side in “Frolic Through the Park,” marking the evolution in lyrics and music. “Why You Do This,” “Devil’s Metal,” and “Confused” are examples of the band’s complex and intriguing sound, which unfortunately sacrifices a bit of consistency with an excess of “hooks” and repetitive melodies. An arranging structure beyond what is due makes the album dull for some. Others believe, however, that this is the band’s best album.

Geffen Records was impressed with the band’s first appearance and offered Death Angel an offer. Thus, they became the first band of their style to get a contract with a major label. With Geffen, the band released what is considered one of the most creative albums of the thrash metal genre, “Act III”. This album challenges the boundaries of the genre by creating something truly unique: basic discography for any metal fan. Following this, the band released two videos on MTV, “Seemingly Endless Time” and the ballad “Room With A View.”

Death Angel was on “tour” between 1986 and 1990, including two sold-out shows in Japan. Almost every “Act III World Tour” concert sold out, including The Warfield Theater in San Francisco, The Ritz in New York, and the famous Hammersmith Odeon in England, which was remarkable for a band whose average age was under 19.

The trajectory of Death Angel’s success turned tragic in 1990 when the bus carrying the band was involved in an accident. In that case, no one was killed, but drummer Andy Galeon was seriously injured, requiring over a year to recover.

During this time, after several fights in court against the Enigma record company, which demanded the change of the band’s name due to the emergence of the Death Metal style (and the band would change the name for strategic reasons), vocalist Mark Osegueda left the band and moved to New York following other personal paths besides music. The rest of the band formed the new “The Organization” and released two good albums: “The Organization” and “Savor the Flavor”. The band “O”, as they became known, played several concerts across the United States and Europe, including two appearances at the famous Dynamo Open Air Festival as the opening band for Rob Halford’s Fight and also for Motörhead.

They disbanded in 1995, when the members followed other personal projects, including “The Past” (Rob, Andy, Dennis, Gus), “Big Shrimp” (Dennis, Andy), “Smokestack” (Rob, Andy), “Silver Circus” (Mark), and “Swarm” (Rob, Andy, Mark). The last band (Swarm) released an album and opened concerts for Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains).

Death Angel reappeared in 2001, invited by Bob Rock to play at a charity event for the cancer victims pro-Chuck.
Billy (Testament) and Chuck Schuldiner (Death) called “Thrash of the Titans”. The response to this reunion was so good that offers came in, and the group’s reunion came about just like a secret show in San Francisco where sales were sold out under the alias “Kill As One.”

Another appearance at the Dynamo Open Air Festival and a pre-event at the Efenaar Club in Eindhoven got sold out even before the band arrived in Europe.

Since then, Death Angel played at the No Mercy Festivals in April 2003 and supported Metallica at the Fillmore in San Francisco, Anthrax in the USA, and Halford.

On May 6, 2004, 14 years after the release of Act III, Death Angel released the excellent new album “The Art of Dying”.
The only member not returning to the band was Gus Pepa, who follows a normal life away from the music scene in the Philippines.

A few years later, the San Francisco band released “Killing Season” (2008), the last album before Dennis Pepa and Andy Galeon left the band: now only Rob Cavestany and Mark Osegueda remain original members.

With the entrance of Will Carroll and Damien Sisson, Death Angel released the album “Relentless Retribution” in 2010. In 2013, another album came out: The Dream Calls for Blood. Acclaimed by fans, the album is characterized by a return to the roots, a polished sound, but heavy and aggressive, different from what had been done since the group’s comeback.

In May 2016, they released their latest studio work, “The Evil Divide”, which peaked at #98 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the US Independent Albums music chart.

In November 2021, DEATH ANGEL issued a brand-new live album called “The Bastard Tracks” on Nuclear Blast. A press release for “The Bastard Tracks” referred to it as “a deep-cuts collection of rarely and never performed songs from the band’s catalog” and stated that it was released digitally and on CD, vinyl, and Blu-ray. It was recorded live at The Great American Music Hall in their hometown of San Francisco on May 22, 2021, and streamed live shortly after.

They are working on a new album; you can check out the news and interview here.

987 The Ultra-Violence
Released: April 23, 1987

1988 Frolic through the Park
Released: July 5, 1988

1990 Act III
Released: April 10, 1990

2004 The Art of Dying
Released: May 4, 2004

2008 Killing Season
Released: February 26, 2008

2010 Relentless Retribution
Released: September 14, 2010

2013 The Dream Calls for Blood
Released: October 15, 2013

2016 The Evil Divide
Released: May 27, 2016

2019 Humanicide
Released: May 31, 2019