April 10, 1990 - 2020: 30 years of: Act III.
1990, and 1991, are the last years of expansion for traditional-metal.
Thrashmetal and heavymetal were at a dead-end crossroad, after a decade of loud guitar-shredding and powerchord-strumming, something had to give. Most kept the status-quo and slowly faded away but a handful of them grew, matured and broke out of the mold ...for a little while.
The Bay-Area boys were bred from the classic 70s metal-mammoths but were also deeply into pop-music, alternative and hip-hop ...a unique fusion, that reeks all over their demeanor and throughout the Act III record.
Unlike neighborhood buddies HEATHEN, EXODUS and VIO-LENCE, DEATH ANGEL were bound for another plateau. Nothing against the aforementioned bands, but the musical openness of the Filipinos-quintet was their ultimate passport for the major leagues. Newly signed to major-label Geffen Records, home of GUNS 'N ROSES, WHITESNAKE and AEROSMITH, the label was deadly serious about this new project ...until their other newly signed project NIRVANA changed the face of music in late-1991.
Still, the trajectory is here, black and white, you can see it from "Act I" with 1987's brutal speedmetal assault in The Ultra-Violence LP, to the lighter "Act II" in 1988's Frolic Through The Park LP featuring funky-pieces like "Open Up" and "Bored" ...to the underrated gem now showcased in this third act.
Experimentation and evolution made them the exception.
The speedmetal intro of "Seemingly Endless Time" bursts like a Tasmanian-devil until the off-set pattern sets-in pre-verse. A fine lite-thrash track, yet this number would be one of the only salute to their aggressive-metal past. "Stop" and "Disturbing The Peace" are new mosh-pit favorites, and starts to open-up even more, to a new vibe and groove.
The heavyrock-beat keeps the pace in check on "The Organization" and on the inebriating "Ex-Tc". The background-choirs unashamedly reeks DEF LEPPARD-ness. An arenarock-signature cleverly tapped into thrashmetal, another key elements this band now fully possessed.
The powerless powerballad "A Room With A View" served as single #2 for the record, a beautiful melody-filled song, yet a tangible sign that a major-label was backstage pulling the strings and setting-up this play. Do you think with a name like DEATH ANGEL, that they artificially had a chance of becoming another BON JOVI or NELSON-type of hardrock hit ?
The stand-out track is the eclectic "Discontinued" ...the song FAITH NO MORE never wrote. Grooves and alternative flavors and a slap-bass sub-rhythm that would make the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS blush ...all this from the same boys that wrote "Kill As One" and "Final Death" a mere 3 years ago.
On tour in the US, tragedy struck hard with in life-threatening bus crash, putting drummer Andy Galeon out of commotion for nearly a year. As cousins, they patiently waited for him to recover, above heavymetal, this is a full family affair.
In the meantime the metal tour of 1991's summer, the Clash Of The Titans featuring heavy-hitters like MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX was supposed to feature DEATH ANGEL as a supporting-act. Without their drummer they politely declined and the coveted-spot went to some tiny band from up north named ALICE IN CHAINS. Ironically this same ALICE would eventually become one of the trend-setters from this new scene that would ultimately knockdown the heavymetal-scene off the spot-light in late-1991: the grunge movement from Seattle.
After being given their walking-papers from Geffen, their unorthodox trajectory continued in 1993 with post-DEATH ANGEL band, minus original screamer Mark Osegueda, the appropriately named THE ORGANIZATION: a complete alternative-funk metal tribe.
Seemingly Endless Time - video
A Room With A View - video
Interview in 1990
Live in Detroit in 1990
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