Album Review: Dark Angel -Darkness Descends
This is the epitome of thrash. All the power and fury of death metal, plus the fast-paced aggression of punk rock, results in this phenomenal album. Much heavier and faster than their contemporaries, Dark Angel are masters of their craft, and Darkness Descends was a definitive album both for the band and the genre. The bass lines maintain a subtle but pervasive groove. The drumming, although exemplary, is often overshadowed by furious guitar hooks and Don Doty’s outstanding vocals. When the drums are emphasized, however, all hell breaks loose. Gene Hoglan is a beast on the skins, considered by many to be one of the best in thrash.
Part of the stylistic appeal of Darkness Descends was its unpredictable nature. Headbang-worthy rhythms would shift into faster mosh riffs, and Don Doty’s voice ranges from throaty growls to higher pitched screams. The most memorable track is The Burning Of Sodom, which has the catchiest melody, most brutal instrumentation, and most subversive lyrics. Throughout the album, the subject matter ranges from religious hypocrisy, to horrors of war, and even the indignity of life-support. Nothing was sacred, and Dark Angel left no taboo unsung.
Overall, this is an exceptional album, especially considering it was made in the aesthetic no-man’s-land known as year 1986. Bands like Poison were considered metal back then. Yuck. Dark Angel broke the mold with meaner, nastier music, longer tracks, and even cooler album art. What’s not to love? Five stars out of five.