Death Angel - February 7, 2011 - Peabody's Down Under, Cleveland, OH
By: Dan Barkasi
Death Angel doing the apropos "shredding" in the live arena...
It was a rainy, slushy and overall dim drive to Cleveland on a Monday evening. However, it was done with purpose - to catch the almighty Death Angel. The Bay Area thrashers have always been one of the tightest and most energetic bands in metal, and recent performances have shown a band hungrier than ever. How did they fare on this show? We'll get there soon!
The first band that this writer caught was a local act on a side stage named Conceded. They seemed to be quite young, but were very solid, with a bit of a Sodom feel - both stylistically and in numbers, being a three-piece. Catching them was a nice, pleasant surprise of which it would be nice to hear more from.
Bonded by Blood followed, with their bombastic old school thrash attack in full swing. This being the second time catching them, they were just as fun as the first. There's a lot of throwback thrash that is just plain generic and bland - these guys are a definite exception. Sure, they’re not doing much that hasn’t been done before, but they do so with conviction and fervor of which portray the spirit of thrash in its heyday. Nice to see Mauro Gonzales named as the permanent singer as well. He really brings a lot of energy in the live setting and fits like a glove. Good show!
Lazarus AD was in the main support slot, and just as on album, they were ever boring. These are the kind of new thrash bands that bug me – listless riffs, lousy song writing, and their awful attempt at throwing in the worst and most misplaced breakdowns you can horrifically imagine. There’s nothing interesting about them – both live and on album. All of the rave reviews they’ve been getting make no sense to me (you’re losing it, Gehlke). [I will stand by these guys 'till the end - ed.]
Thankfully, Death Angel quickly exacerbated the bad vibe left by the previous band with their usual gusto and fury. There is no band going that can surpass the energy they bring to every single performance. The twin axe attack of Rob Cavestany and Ted Aguilar always brings the house down, while charismatic front man Mark Oseguda whips around the stage like a kitten on a new toy. He's so energetic and sharp, and seems to get better with every performance. They played a well-crafted and intense set filled with classics both new and old. They played many personal favorites, including “Evil Priest,” “Buried Alive,” “Mistress of Pain,” and “Thrashers.” No sane fan could have found a thing wrong with their set.
As always, Death Angel played their ass off and showed why they're one of the best thrash bands ever conceived. They’re the perfect example of just how it should be done – with integrity and a mercilessly sharp sound that is unique to them. Their blend of pure speed and heaviness, along with their melodic tendencies, has not been matched in this genre, and likely won’t be topped.
The show overall was a great time, despite the presence of one unfavorable band. The addition of a good local band was a great bonus, and Bonded by Blood did a great job beginning the program. Death Angel, as always, was brilliant. Seeing them many times now, they never get bland and always leave you satisfied and wanting to catch them again as soon as possible. Please, do yourself a favor and see Death Angel if the opportunity presents itself – you won't be even slightly disappointed.