Thrash will never die, and the crushing force of Death Angel will make sure of it.
These Bay Area masters of heavy riffing, speed, and power will arrive in Miami to unleash the beast at Grand Central for a Motörhead's MotörBoat Cruise pre-party.
Before Ted Aguilar joined Death Angel as a guitar player, he was a fan who went to every show he could, starting when he was a kid in the '80s. So we caught up with the dude himself for his ten favorite Death Angel songs of all time.
Crossfade: What was your first Death Angel show, as a fan?
Ted Aguilar: Whoa, dude. Just off the top of my head, I'd say it was when The Ultra-Violence came out. The band had a video shoot for the song "Voracious Souls" in the summer of 1987. They played with Betrayal from Fresno. I was there for the video shoot. The club was jam-packed and the people were going crazy. Those guys were on fire. And growing up in the Bay Area thrash and metal scene, and seeing it worldwide, they were young. It was pretty unheard of in the '80s for a bunch of teenagers to be playing thrash. Most people were over 18 or in their 20s, and these guys were superyoung. And they were my same heritage, Filipino.
And now, the top ten:
10. "The Ultra-Violence" (Instrumental) from album The Ultra-Violence
One of the best instrumentals there are. Right up there with Metallica's Orion. Playing this live is fun 'cause you get to experience the energy, but listening to it brings me back to a time where, damn, that was some shit. I was like, "Hell yeah!" Those riffs, those beats, they make me want to release some energy. And it was written by teenagers, I could really relate to that.
See also: 25 Creepiest Heavy Metal Album Covers
9. "Seemingly Endless Time" from album Act III
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This is the first song on Act III and it's a well-matured thrash song. The energy. It's very simple, catchy, to the point. The vocal melodies and lyrics are great. Death Angel stems from personal experiences. We grew up with Dio and Sabbath and their songs about dragons and all this other mystical stuff, and that works for them, but we're a band that likes to make music that we can feel lyrically. I like to listen to Adele, she writes songs that I'm like, "I relate to you, girl." And we like to write stuff like that, but metal.
8. "Guilty of Innocence" from album Frolic Through the Park
That's a song that has a bit of metal and crossover punk, which I like. It's one of those bastard tracks, not a hit. It's just something about the opening riff, when you hear it, and the drums come in, you just wanna go beat up somebody. The bastard tracks are the songs that are not hits, that the band usually doesn't play live, the black sheep of the album that don't see the light of day. The deep cuts. The jam that's buried.
7. "Thrown to the Wolves" off The Art Of Dying
That's a song written when the band was first getting back together and we were writing The Art of Dying. Just the band getting to know each other. Death Angel had disbanded for 11 years, and after three years of touring, started to write again. It was the last song written on the record. It's really fast and aggressive and the lyrics are just like, We're back and not gonna go anywhere. It's a thrashist song, so that's what I like about it. I'm drawn to the more aggressive songs, and that's the most aggressive song on that album.
6. "The Devil Incarnate" off The Art Of Dying
Now, this song, whoa ... It's a slower heavy song. It reminds me of older Sabbath during the Ozzy era. It's driving and really heavy and really different. Rob and Mark came up with the vocal harmonies, which normally no thrash bands ever do, and it's all on top of these heavy riffs. Really heavy and dark, but also very melodic vocals.
5. "Soulless" off Killing Season
It's just a catchy tune. A real rock 'n roll tune, which I like a lot. And it's a bastard track. It's not fast, and you don't gotta bang your head all the time, just feel the groove and the rhythm and the heavy guitars. You can see the chicks dancing to it.
4. "Resurrection Machine" off Killing Season
Epic song. Very epic. It's like "Devil Incarnate." It starts off with this acoustic melancholy intro, then a verse and chorus of heaviness, and then in the middle eight, it really breaks down and goes into this atmosphere of pure heaviness of melodic weight, and then it comes back into the song. It reminds me of "Master Of Puppets." Just a really heavy roller-coaster of a song.
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3. "Relentless Revolution" off Relentless Retribution
It's the first track off Relentless Retribution, and it's a really good opening track. I love playing it live, and that song and that album mean a lot to me because lyrically I could relate. The band went through member changes and we were in a phase of whether the band would continue or breakup and go our separate ways. But we decided to keep going, and it tells people, Hey, dude, we've gone through some shit.
2. Every Single Song off The Dream Calls for Blood
It's our latest album, released last October. It's a great album and I couldn't be any prouder of it. It's very vicious musically, lyrically, and the people love it. The title track means that no matter what you do in life, no matter what path you take to where you want to get, you're going to have to deal with consequence and sacrifice. You're gonna have to hit some bumps in the road, and that's the blood part. Trying to get to the top is not easy. You have to experience haters, and two-faced people, and all sorts of shit. And that's the blood.
1. "Territorial Instinct" off The Dream Calls for Blood
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It's the last song on the album. We haven't played it live yet, but it has a really epic old Ozzy feel, like in the Randy Rhoads era and the Jake E. Lee era. The riffs are insane, the arrangements are crazy, and the performance is just badass. It's probably my favorite Death Angel song of all time.
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Death Angel and High on Fire. With Solstice, Thrash or Die, and Orbweaver. Saturday, September 20, at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 6 p.m. and tickets cost $25 plus fees via ticketfly.com. All ages. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.