Death Angel – Time Stands Still

Saturday, 30th March 2013

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Forever in the role of thrash underdog, Death Angel shouldn’t have to sneak up on people the way they do. For anyone that has witnessed the Bay Area veterans in the live setting know the band kills (as one), capable of running circles around bands half their age. Heck, even a lot of the retro thrash brigade whom the band calls contemporaries can’t hang with these guys. Yet that’s the funny thing about DA – they’re really not all that old…they started when they were 14, for crissakes. Time (seemingly endless time, that is), has stopped; they’re still brash, spunky, and edgy. Guess the 10 years they took off from 1991 to 2001 didn’t hurt things, eh?

For their third post-reformation offering, DA returns with Relentless Retribution, an album that is easily the heaviest thing they’ve put to tape. With the aid of producer Jason Suceof, Relentless brims with a sonic intensity that fully complements the band’s killer instinct in the live setting. Plus, there’s a few unique twists and turns here, especially the acoustic break at the end of “Claws In So Deep” and melodic glory that is “Opponents At Side.”

Blistering tracked down singer Mark Osegueda to discuss the band’s recent opening stint on Soilwork’s North American tour, the recent additions of bassist Damien Sissom and drummer Will Carroll, along with the new album, and most importantly, why the band is still relevant and fresh… The Soilwork tour, from your standpoint on where you were on the bill, how did it go?

Mark Osegueda: It worked out extremely well for us, just for the fact a lot of their fans had never heard or seen us, so we won over a lot of new fans every night. It was great winning over a new crowd. Death Angel converts would come up to us after every show with t-shirts and CDs, it was perfect. The goal in the future is to get on more support tours to expand our fanbase. Granted, we’re going to do a lot of headlining shows as well. Your live presentation is different than a lot of bands in the sense you’re energetic and it looks like you’re having more fun, so that had to help.

Osegueda: One thing we’ve always been is a live band. I’d say we’re stronger than ever because we’re going to tour more than we ever have with this particular line-up. We’ve always been a live band and when you hear the new album, it’s definitely aggressive, but when you translate them live, it’s going to be even more on fire. Speaking of the new line-up, how do Will and Damien fit in?

Osegueda: It’s been great, amazing. The energy is positive, it brings new life to me, Rob [Cavestany, lead guitars], and Ted [Aguilar, rhythm gutitars]. It’s great to tour. That’s one of the things that unfortunately plagued Death Angel in the past was that we couldn’t do expansive touring because Dennis [Pepa, bass] and Andy [Galeon, drums] couldn’t be away from their families as much, but these guys are open, so we’re going to tour more than we ever have. Has it been weird to not be onstage with Andy and Dennis?

Osegueda: I can’t say that it has. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to reflect. I revel in what’s happening now and with the new album coming out, we’ve been touring with these new guys so much already, it feels like a brand new pair of shoes [laughs]. Will beats the shit out of the drums, doesn’t he?

Osegueda: But he’s a positive beast and to see him live is great. When we get a moment where we’re exhausted or tired, I look back at Will and get back in gear. If he can put out so much energy, I can step it up. We all inspire each other to whoop ass [laughs]. This was the first time working with Jason Suceof for Relentless Retribution. What was it like?

Osegueda: It was amazing working with him. He was a madman and a genius at the same time. He inspired us in a big way and when we got in there working him and he heard the material, we told him it was the most aggressive stuff we’ve ever written. He’s an old Death Angel fan and he brought out some of those old, aggressive elements. Vocally for me, he brought some aggressive elements and with Rob, he inspired some of the most searing leads he’s done. Has the songwriting partnership between you and Rob been any better?

Osegueda: Rob, I trust his ability as far as his riffs. I lock myself in a room, inspired by his riffs and start writing the lyrics and the melodies. We’re more comfortable than ever with that. When we get into the rehearsal studio, we do some fine-tweaking, but it usually ends up working how we want it to work.

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