Angel Dust - Into The Dark Past
Disaster Records
Speed / Thrash Metal
8 songs (38'55)
Release year: 1986
Angel Dust
Reviewed by Marty
Archive review
There's been a lot of talk lately about the future of this band following the departure of Dirk Thurisch, vocals, and Dirk Assmuth, drums, forcing the band to cancel gigs at Wacken Open Air, Metal Dayz in Pratteln and the Milwaukee (U.S.A) Metalfest. The timing for the apparent implosion of this band due to egos and the ever present money issues couldn't be worse. The Wacken gig would've been a real turning point in this band's career. With the release of Border Of Reality in 1996 and two amazing albums, Bleed in 1998, and Enlighten The Darkness in 2000, Angel Dust was poised to break out and become a major force in the metal world. Last year's Of Human Bondage, although a solid album, failed to capture the intensity and melody of the previous two offerings and wasn't as well received by critics and fans alike. Frank Banx, bass guitar, and Ritchie Wilkinson, guitar, have apparently re-located to the U.S.A. and are currently working with a new drummer and new lead vocalist. Let's hope they keep the spirit of this band alive!

Meanwhile.....this little gem (if you're lucky enough to own it) was the first release by Angel Dust in 1986 and, along with their second album, To Dust You Will Decay, are currently out of print. However, there are plans to re-release both albums in the near future. I've always heard a lot about this album and only recently got a chance to hear it for the first time. Being a huge fan, I was anxious to hear the humble beginnings of this truly amazing band. At the time, the band consisted of Dirk Assmuth, drums, Frank Banx, bass, Romme Keymer, guitar and vocals and Andreas Lohrum, guitar. The music is, for lack of a better term, pure classic 80's Bay Area Thrash Metal. It sounds nothing like the Angel Dust of today. Comparisons could be made to early Metallica, especially the Kill 'Em All and Ride The Lightning albums as well as early Exodus and even bands like Venom, Anthrax and Slayer. The music is all very fast, with the typical speed riffing but also contains some wild (and very cool) breaks and sudden stops, suddenly ripping into something totally different. I've always loved that sort of raw reckless Thrash Metal that seems to have enough different killer riffs in one song to make 4 or 5 songs. Metallica used that particular style right up to and including the And Justice For All album. All tracks are very riff-oriented and the production is pretty good considering it's 16 years old. There are some elements to this band which also remind you of older Helloween (Walls Of Jericho) and some of the more technical riffing brings Mercyful Fate to mind.

The one major fault with this band, at the time, were the vocals. Not only are they not very good, they sound almost like an afterthought, slapped down on tape with lots of echo and screams. Truthfully though, most Thrash and Speed metal fans don't pay much attention to the vocals anyway. With this band, and many others of this genre, there's so much going on with the speed, the riffs and the fast drumming to generate enough excitement that the vocals are really just something in the background to bring it all together.

If you can live with the vocals (they're not really that bad...and I've heard much worse!), what you have here is a great Thrash Metal album from the mid 80's that seemed to slip away into oblivion. I doubt that this was ever released in North America. When the re-issue of this album hits the stores, I suggest to all of you who love the early to mid 80's Thrash and want to experience a bit of nostalgia from something you've probably never heard before, pick up this little gem. Who knows.... if it gets the recognition I think it deserves, it may become a true classic from an era of metal music that seems all but forgotten...

Killing Songs :
Legions Of Destruction, Gambler, Atomic Roar and Victims of Madness
Marty quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Angel Dust that we have reviewed:
Angel Dust - Of Human Bondage reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Angel Dust - Bleed reviewed by Marty and quoted 92 / 100
Angel Dust - Enlighten The Darkness reviewed by Chris and quoted 93 / 100
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