Death Angel - The Ultra-Violence
Restless Records
Bay Area Thrash Metal
8 songs (45:22)
Release year: 1987
Death Angel
Reviewed by Aaron
Archive review
Death Angel's debut was, while neither a monumental nor an essential thrash metal release, was certainly was fucking great, at the very least. Plenty of youthful enthusiasm, vigor, and balls-to-the-fucking-wall thrash insanity make this a great addition to any thrash fan’s collection.

This release is about nine things: riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, riffs, and more riffs. Thrashy, consistent, complex, insidiously catchy, manic, unpredictable, and just plain old crazy are all words to describe the riffing on this release. The production is actually pretty damned decent, luckily, enough so that everything has adequate room to breathe, and not a single element stands above the rest.

Mark Osgueda is my very favorite thrash vocalist ever, and man, can he pull off some amazingly high screams and has a very impressive range. Not only that, but you don’t hear him breathe once, and while you listen to these vocals, you can really visualize how he was thrashing around while yelling them out. They just ooze energy, which happens to be the main strength of this band. I mean, shit, they were all in their late teens when they recorded this CD. Crazy.

The opener, which will immediately force you to bang your head like a pigeon running a marathon, is Thrashers, which happened to be a staple of the bands’ live show long before Mark joined, and so, Dennis Pepa is the vocalist for this one. They still use him for it whenever they perform it live, and I’ve heard they perform it live quite frequently. He’s not nearly as good as Mark, but it’s not like he’s shitty, like Sean Killian. Great fast-paced song, and standout opening track.

Next up is Evil Priests, featuring lyrics that Glen Benton probably stole at some point. Mark pulls off some nice screams here, and the song itself has a totally mad break around the middle section that veers nicely into a wailing eighties self-indulgent guitar solo. Another standout song.

Coming next is Voracious Souls, with an old-fashioned drumming intro, showcasing some nice competence behind that there kit. The song itself is a no-nonsense speedy, ripping thrash song, redolent heavily of Megadeth’s heavier moments, with an infectiously catchy chorus.

After that is my second favorite, Kill as One, with some of Mark’s best ever vocals on this track, (some screams topping 1800 Hz. For appropriate comparison, in 1977, Rob Halford had about 1630 Hz for his more impressive wails.) and with a riff that you will never, ever, ever, get out of your head just a bit past the midsection.

And here’s the title track, a 10 minute thrash instrumental with approximately a metric fuckload of riffs, about 79 to my ears. Metallica’s got nothin’ on that shit. This one won’t have you bored for a single second. I particularly love the bass on this song, it’s rather distracting. If you can actually get bored listening to this, then you probably have ADHD or something similar.

Mistress of Pain and Final Death are the last one-two punch on this album, and both are very much in the same mold, forcing all the riffs that Death Angel could write up your ass in a very addictive fashion. Mistress of Pain also has some more of those amazing screams from Mark, these ones topping 1900 Hz! Fucking nuts.

IPFS isn’t a song, but it’s fun to listen to anyway. Just the band fucking around.

A near-classic, this would be just a bit better with more variation, and perhaps some more exciting drumwork. If you’re an old-school thrasher, you probably have a copy of this, but if not, what the hell are you waiting for?

Killing Songs :
Evil Priests, Thrashers, Kill as One, Mistress of Pain, The Ultra-Violence
Aaron quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Death Angel that we have reviewed:
Death Angel - The Dream Calls for Blood reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Death Angel - Relentless Retribution reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Death Angel - Killing Season reviewed by Marty and quoted 76 / 100
Death Angel - The Art of Dying reviewed by Jeff and quoted 80 / 100
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