As thrash was resurrected and reinvented over the past five or six years, no band has been the beneficiary of this resurgence more than Death Angel, a band who was marginalized during the halcyon days of thrash but has reunited and come back with a considerable vengeance in the last ten years.
To help new listeners get acclimated to what has come before, Metal Blade records has taken it upon themselves to re-issue two of the band’s first iteration recordings, 1988’s “Frolic Through the Park” and 1990’s live album “Fall From Grace.” Both are restored with presented with roughly the original packaging and imagery which more or less authenticates the entire experience.
The production here is re-crafted but artfully done, so that all the thin crunch of the original recording, limited by both the technology of the time and the resources available, remains intact as an edifice to the Way Things Used To Be. “Frolic Through the Park,” to that end, does not disappoint – the album still pulses with the youth of a band yet untamed; the writing is bursting with vitriol and righteous inquisition of the world, while the choruses are repeated and simple, perfect for banging a fist or a skull.
The inclusion of “Fall From Grace” is a more curious examination, as the live record was released more or less without the band’s permission way back in 1990 (thus the conspicuous absence of Death Angel’s customary artwork.) To see it restored and re-presented is a strange sensation, as the album generated buzz at the time, but was the source of much consternation in the same stroke. As far as the music is concerned however, the album boasts a more full experience and thicker sound than “Frolic,” both as an extension of the band’s more mature playing and the underpinnings of technology. From a purely aural standpoint, “Fall From Grace” is the superior of these two releases.
If your introduction to Death Angel has only come since the band’s new millennium reconstitution, then be forewarned that these two releases from a bygone era are extremely rough around the edges by comparison. However, they are, for different reasons, important parts of the band’s history, and if you’re a completist, an avid fan and historian, or someone who thought they outgrew these albums but wants to hear them again, you’re in luck. Metal Blade has done these albums a fine service by bringing them out of the vault and back into the light.