When I heard Bay Area thrash legends Death Angel were releasing a documentary DVD a few months ago I must say I was definitely looking forward to it’s release. When I was first getting into thrash metal almost 10 years ago, Death Angel were one of the first few bands who came to my attention with their classic 1987 debut The Ultra-Violence (whose album cover proudly adorns the back of my studded battle jacket along with many other a thrash classic), which I still love to this day along with their other early classics Frolic Through the Park and Act III. As soon as I heard killer cuts like “Evil Priest”, “Voracious Souls”, “Devil’s Metal” and “Seemingly Endless Time”, I was hooked. Admittedly I haven’t been following Death Angel’s present day career as much as I should, so A Thrashumentary proved to be an education as well as a celebration of an old-skool thrash band who continues to pound stages worldwide with their raging metal to this day.
A Thrashumentary is primarily a retrospective of Death Angel’s with some live footage interspersed between interviews with the band members. The interviews are mainly with the two remaining original members of the band – vocalist Mark Osegueda and guitarist Rob Cavestany. As A Thrashumentary progresses, the rest of the band’s current line-up (guitarist Ted Aguilar, Bassist Damien Sisson and drummer Will Carroll) give commentary on their time as members of Death Angel. The film also features guest interviewees commenting on Death Angel and their career including Testament’s Chuck Billy and producer Jason Suecof.
A Thrashumentary begins with Mark and Rob discussing Death Angel’s early days in the mid-80s through their initial peak on a major record label in the early 90s, their disbanding throughout the 90s after their horrific road accident, the original band members’ other projects throughout the 90s (including The Organization and Swarm), their reunification at Chuck Billy’s Thrash of the Titans benefit concert and end’s during the band’s world tour in support of their 2010 album Relentless Retribution. The film gives a great overall insight into the ups and downs of career playing the music you love right from humble teenage beginnings through to, what some might consider, “Legend” status with a loyal worldwide fanbase. A Thrashumentary is equally insightful, informative and entertaining, especially with the mix of old interview footage, old live footage and newer live footage spread out throughout the film. The live footage itself is varied with a variety of songs from throughout Death Angel’s career such as “The Ultra-Violence”, “Evil Priest”, “Bored”, “Seemingly Endless Time”, “Thrown to the Wolves”, “Lord of Hate”, “River of Rapture” and “I Chose the Sky”.
Overall Death Angel’s A Thrasumentary is a great DVD with multiple functions primarily as a retrospective of the band’s 33-year career in rock and metal, but also as a live DVD with its variety of concert footage (both modern and historical) featuring many of Death Angel’s classic and modern songs. A Thrashumentary also gives you plenty of quality audio visual entertainment yet doesn’t feel overlong or superfluous with its 3-hour run time. Again, A Thrashumentary is informative as well as entertaining and is overall well worth watching. It’s re-kindled my love of Death Angel and their latest albums Relentless Retribution and 2013’s The Dream Calls for Blood are definitely on my next list of album purchases. Get your thrasher mates together with some beers and watch A Thrashumentary – a great heavy metal night in guaranteed.
A Thrashumentary is available now via Nuclear Blast.
Special thanks to Claire Harris at Nuclear Blast for the images used in this article.