By Carl Begai
Released in 2004, The Art Of Dying marked the return of one of the most exciting thrash bands to claw its way out of the Bay Area in the ’80s. Death Angel became a cult favourite from the moment the unwashed metal legions got wind of them in ’86 via the Kill As One demo, releasing three critically acclaimed albums (The Ultra-Violence, Frolic Through The Park, Act III) in only four years. Their rise to fame came to an abrupt halt in 1990, however, following an accident that left drummer Andy Galeon sidelined for over a year. Death Angel inevitably fell apart and the members pursued other projects, reuniting in 2001 in support of a cancer benefit show for Testament frontman Chuck Billy which started the climb a second time. Three albums and thousands of kilometers/miles travelled to support them, Death Angel are going loud and proud into their 10th year since The Art Of Dying with a record that sounds like a band just as hungry as they were a decade ago.
Time flies when you’re having fun. Nobody knows that better than founding guitarist Rob Cavestany, although he’ll readily admit is hasn’t all been fun and games.
“Oh man, it’s weird,” says Cavestany. “We’ve been around longer since our comeback than we were the first time around. When I stop and think about it, it’s pretty wild. That said, things are moving so fast that I try not to think about the passing of time, otherwise it’ll freak me out (laughs). I already have issues with time and deadlines and feeling like the world is breathing down my neck, so I just try to keep moving forward.”
The Dream Calls For Blood is an awkward album title perhaps better suited for a prog band with anger management problems, but the music behind it is most certainly Death Angel as they’re known and loved. Much of the material is reminiscent of The Art Of Dying’s full-on bullet train approach, leaving fans little room to catch more than a breath between songs.
“That wasn’t really planned as much as it was hoped for,” Cavestany laughs. “When I start writing music I just start writing; nothing’s planned. Initially, we were thinking that it would be cool if our next album was really, really heavy, raw, fast, and totally metal. The main idea was to keep a consistent flow on the album, which we haven’t really done since The Ultra-Violence because we always incorporate a lot of different influences and various styles. We’ll have the occasional acoustic song or a slower tune or a mid-paced tune, and we do that because we like a variety of music. We’re just doing what some of our favourite albums do, like Queen or Led Zeppelin, but doing it in a thrash form. This time around we thought it would be nice if it didn’t end up that way. I was thinking that if we didn’t end up with slower songs I’d be happy because I like the idea of things being fast and up-tempo all the way through. We wanted to make an album where you don’t have to be in the mood for that other kind of song. That was the part that was ‘planned’, but that was really just in the back of my mind.”
“The other reason this album turned out the way the way it did is because most of it was written on the road. We toured so long on the last album (Relentless Retribution) that we had to start writing new material or it was going to take forever to get the new one done. I was very inspired by the energy of the show and the crowd and the other bands we toured with. And towards the end of the tour we did start playing (first album) The Ultra-Violence in its entirety to celebrate the album’s 25th Anniversary, so that must have crept into the vibe, too.”
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