Death Angel

Death Angel, formed in 1982, is a Filipino-American thrash metal band from Concord, California. Death Angel broke up in 1991, but reformed at the Thrash of the Titans benefit concert for Chuck Billy in 2001.


Early Days (1982–1986)

Death Angel was formed in San Francisco, California, in 1982 by Rob Cavestany (lead guitar), Dennis Pepa (Bass guitar, vocals), Gus Pepa (rhythm guitar), and Andy Galeon (drums), who are all cousins. After considering a number of different names for the band, including "Dark Fury," Cavestany and D. Pepa settled on the name "Death Angel" after coming across a book by that title in a book store. In 1983, the band released its first demo, Heavy Metal Insanity, with Matt Wallace serving as producer. According to Mark Osegueda, the group was then "more like a metal band, more like Iron Maiden, Tygers Of Pan Tang and stuff like that," as the so-called Bay Area thrash movement was only just beginning to rise to prominence at the time, and make its influence felt. Osegueda, a second cousin of the other four members who had been working as their roadie, became the group's vocalist in 1984 and performed his first show with the band on a bill with Megadeth in April of that year (at one of the four Megadeth gigs to feature Kerry King on guitar).

Death Angel continued to play club gigs in and around the San Francisco Bay area for nearly 2 years, writing songs and refining their stage show. In 1986, the band recorded the Kill As One demo with Metallica's Kirk Hammett (whom they had met at a record store signing in 1983) as producer. Due to the underground tape trading wave of the early 1980s, the demo was distributed extensively and brought the band to the attention of a still-wider audience; Osegueda later recalled that prior to the release of the band's first album, "we were playing in L.A. and New York, and the crowd was singing our songs, because there was this underground tape trading....That's what keeps it alive, and I think that's absolutely wonderful."

The Ultra-Violence and Frolic Through The Park (1987–1989)

The success of Kill As One led to a record deal with Enigma Records, who released Death Angel's debut album The Ultra-Violence in 1987. The band recorded The Ultra-Violence while its members were all still under 20 years old, and the album sold 40,000 copies in just one four-month period. A video was filmed for "Voracious Souls," a song about a band of cannibals, but it never aired on MTV due to the nature of the lyrics. The group released the follow-up album Frolic Through The Park in 1988, which spawned the single "Bored" (which was also used in the 1990 movie Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III), the video for which did receive regular airplay on MTV's Headbanger's Ball. Frolic featured more diverse material than the straightforward thrash of the first album; the album included a cover of Kiss's "Cold Gin," and the relatively light, playful "Bored" was written under the seemingly unlikely influence of U2, and the guitar playing of The Edge in particular. The band toured worldwide for the first time and found notable success in Japan, selling out 2 full Japanese tours.

Act III (1989–1991)

Geffen Records bought out the band's contract with Enigma Records in 1989 and released the third Death Angel album, Act III, in 1990. Produced by Max Norman (who had previously worked with Ozzy Osbourne and Megadeth), the album showcased the band's newfound use of full-band backing vocals, while fusing elements of funk, thrash, and heavy metal with the use of acoustic guitars to give the album a varied feel, while staying true to the group's heavy roots. The album featured the singles "Seemingly Endless Time" and "A Room with a View" (a ballad sung mostly by guitarist Rob Cavestany), and both songs also received airplay on Headbanger's Ball, but a mainstream breakthrough still proved elusive. (The band released the "A Room with a View" video and single under the name "D.A.," and Cavestany explained to a reporter at the time that he now found the band's original name "restricting. The name Death Angel seems to imply hardcore thrash gloom-and-doom death metal, and we're not like that at all. If I were presented with 10 records, and one of them was by a band called Death Angel, and I'd never heard of them, I'd stick that one on the bottom!")

Also in 1990, Enigma Records -- after already having sold its interest in the band to the Geffen label -- illegally released and distributed Fall from Grace, an unauthorized bootleg live album featuring songs from their first two releases recorded at the Paradiso in Amsterdam, Holland. The album was released without any input from the band members with regard to its songs, contents, credits, concepts, artwork, or anything at all. They did not even learn of its existence until they stumbled upon it in a record store in Tucson, Arizona on the night prior to suffering a near-fatal auto accident (see below). Evidently Enigma Records folded after the release, cashing in on the sales and the album was also unknowingly picked up, manufactured and illegally distributed by Capitol Records. (The legal ramifications of this remain unresolved to the present day.)

Death Angel had embarked on what was scheduled to be a worldwide tour in support of Act III in 1990, selling out shows at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, The Ritz in New York, and England's Hammersmith Odeon. The band was also slated to be the opening act for the "Clash of the Titans" tour featuring Megadeth, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Anthrax later in the year (but were ultimately replaced by Alice in Chains, since they were unable to perform). Additionally, around this time, Death Angel and Geffen were making plans to release a live album recorded at shows in the Bay Area, and the band was also intending to tour and perform in a number of other countries it had not previously visited.

But while on the road in late 1990 in Arizona, en route to a show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the vehicle that the group was traveling in crashed, and drummer Andy Galeon was critically injured, needing more than a year to fully recover. Cavestany said at the time that "[i]n a way, it made perfect sense to have a major accident right now, it really fit the story line. We've been pushing so hard for 8 years and just not getting that far, and getting so frustrated with not being where we should be after so long, it was time for something climactic to happen!" Following the accident, both Geffen Records and the band's manager pressured the group to hire another drummer and immediately go back to work. The band decided on doing a few shows in Japan with a different drummer but the chemistry was not there. When the band members declined to get a long term replacement and go on the road, they were dropped from the record label. At this point, Osegueda left the group and moved to New York to pursue a life outside of music, and Cavestany later explained that "[w]e weren't going to try to replace him and with all that stuff happening we were just totally disgusted at how things had turned out and we felt that this was a sign that the band was not going to go on." Following the split the remaining members performed just a few shows in the Bay Area, appearing as "The Past," and playing acoustic-only sets.

Post-Breakup (1991–2000)

In the summer of 1991, with Galeon fully recovered, Death Angel's remaining members, without Mark, reformed with the band under the name of The Organization (the title of a song on Act III), with Cavestany taking over lead vocal duties. The band continued their exploration into new sounds, focusing less on traditional metal, and more on funk and alt rock. The Organization's first demo was recorded and produced at City College of San Francisco's multitrack studios by Eric Kauschen and Dana Galloway.

The Organization toured extensively throughout the US and Europe, including two appearances at the Netherlands's Dynamo Open Air Festival, a support slot on Rob Halford's "Fight" tour and as the main support act for Motörhead in Europe. Unfortunately, both 1993's The Organization and 1995's Savor the Flavor (including a cover of Steely Dan's "Do It Again") distributed by, (Metal Blade Records) failed to make waves with the record buying public, Rob Cavestany and Andy Galeon decided to call it quits.

In 1998, Rob Cavestany and Andy Galeon reunited with Mark Osegueda for the first time since 1990. Along with bassist Michael Isaiah, the trio formed Swarm (USA) and released a four-track self-titled EP in 1999, along with the five-song Devour EP in 2001. Swarm toured with Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains in 2000, and in 2002 released the compilation album Beyond the End, which combined the contents of the two EPs with a cover of The Doors' "My Eyes Have Seen You." Although Swarm did not become a commercial success, it did bring the core of the band back together, setting the wheels in motion for a Death Angel reunion.

The return of Death Angel (2001–present)

Death Angel officially reunited in August 2001 for Thrash of the Titans, a cancer benefit show for Testament frontman Chuck Billy. Unfortunately, original guitarist Gus Pepa couldn't participate in the reunion since he was out of the country. At Rob Cavestany's suggestion and with Gus's blessing, the remaining band members enlisted their longtime friend and fan, Ted Aguilar, to handle rhythm guitar duties. Originally planned as a one-off show, the band received such a positive response that the show led not only to a string of other well-received gigs around the San Francisco area, but also a pair of European tours -- despite the band not having issued an album in over a decade. In 2004, 14 years after their last album, the band at last released The Art of Dying on Nuclear Blast records. Archives and Artifacts, a box set with remastered versions of the long out-of-print The Ultra-Violence and Frolic Through The Park, along with a bonus Rarities CD and DVD, followed in 2005.

Mark Osegueda has since announced his involvement in the band All Time Highs, but has emphasized that he intends to remain a member of Death Angel.

Also, on April 2007, they played a show in the Philippines, at the 7th Pulp Summer Slam, which featured them as the main act.

In an interview with bassist Dennis Pepa , he stated that a new Death Angel album would be recorded in September/October 2007 and released in early Spring 2008. Recorded at Dave Grohl's Studio 606 in Northridge, California, Killing Season was released on February 26, 2008.

In August 2007, Rob Cavestany released a solo CD of acoustic songs, Lines on the Road, the material on which was written in collaboration with Gus Pepa, and performed by Cavestany (vocals, bass, guitar) Gus Pepa (guitar) and Andy Galeon (drums).

Death Angel’s video for "Dethroned," a track off their latest album, Killing Season, debuted online on Thursday, April 17th, 2008, on Headbangers Blog.

As of May 2008, Death Angel is currently on tour.

Set List for Killing Season Tour 2008 (some songs vary)

Lord of Hate - Evil Priest - Buried Alive - Voracious Souls - Dethroned - Carnival Justice - Sonic Beatdown - Soulless - Kill As One - The Ultra Violence - Seemingly Endless Time - Thrown To The Wolves - Encore - Disturbing The Peace - Mistress Of Pain - Resurrection Machine



Live Albums

Compilation Albums

Studio Albums



Current members

  • Mark Osegueda - vocals
  • Rob Cavestany - guitars, backing vocals
  • Ted Aguilar - guitars
  • Andy Galeon - drums
  • Dennis Pepa - bass guitar, backing vocals

Former members

  • Gus Pepa - guitar (1982–1991)


External links

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