Review Summary: What was to be the bands last offering to the world may also be one of the most well rounded and technical performances of their career.
Dark Angel is often brought up of as an afterthought when thinking of classic 80’s thrash. They largely remained in the back of the thrash metal community, crafting fine albums and touring extensively but never quite finding the success of their thrash brothers. However, they certainly have garnered enough respect from the metal community so as to remain relevant even today, or else I wouldn’t be talking about them. 1991’s “Time Does Not Heal” was to be the band’s last effort, with the band finally calling it quits the following year. They left behind four solid enough albums, with highs and lows experienced on each record. This particular album is of the high category, with the band seemingly reaching their creative peek, writing lengthier songs with more technicality than their early work.
Don’t be fooled, the music found here is very much technical thrash. Perhaps the album’s biggest strengths come from the sheer amount of riffing going on. There are so many riffs contained in any given song that it is very hard to get bored with the material. The riff kicking off any given track is almost certainly not the riff found in the middle or the end of the song, so no one can stick the “repetitive riffing” tag to this album. In fact, it would seem that more emphasis was put in riffs than solos, and it somehow works. Combine this with the always impressive and lively drum work from Gene Hoglan, and you already have yourself a well rounded album from the get go. However, the varied riffing found here can work against the material, as there is so much material crammed in to these tracks that hardly any tracks distinguish themselves, with the exception of the title track and maybe a couple others. The prominent length of this album can also be a bit much to swallow, with the typical song clocking in at a whopping six to eight minutes in length, although each minute of this album contains technical thrash that is vital to the overall product.
As previously stated, the drum work is top-notch. Gene Hoglan drums with such technicality and energy that he may even occasionally eclipse the guitar work, a truly rare occurrence in any thrash recording. On the other hand, vocals are a bit lacking. Vocalist Ron Rinehart certainly has the right voice for metal, rough sounding without being to over the top, but he doesn’t quite use his voice to its fullest extent. At times his voice detracts from the music in a disconcerting way, with somewhat annoying lines haphazardly thrown in with the music. Still, most of the time he manages to sound evil enough to match the overall vibe the music puts forth. The brutal and complex riffing and the technical and energetic drumming makes for a truly volatile mix of angry and dark sounding thrash that is sure to please those who enjoy the more evil sounding sides of metal. This album and its subject matter are notoriously brooding and dreary. Topics such as insanity, murder, and rape all touch on psychological issues that humans go through.
It is very easy indeed to get lost in the countless riffs and musical moods this album paints for the listener. What was to be the bands last offering to the world may also be one of their most well rounded and finest. I won’t tell you that this album is going to please you, because that is not my place. It did however satisfy MY desire for brutal riffing and evil sounding thrash, and I certainly hope you take the time to give it a listen.
- Time Does Not Heal
- Act of Contrition
- Sensory Deprivation
- A Subtle Induction
Point taken, I can totally see where your coming from. But personally, I it is my opinion that thinking like that puts limits on what song structures entail, and that is extremely detrimental to song-writing as a whole.
A little surprised by your reaction to the album. We can't agree on everything, but I have come to respect your opinion on metal.
"it is my opinion that thinking like that puts limits on what song structures entail, and that is extremely detrimental to song-writing as a whole."
Yeah I understand your point. Well a solid music structure doesn't necessary means a standard: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo structure. It's depends on the genre and specific songwriting.
A good example of an excellent thrash music structure is Seasons in the Abyss or Ride the Lightning. But you can find also excellent music structures on Chuck Schuldiner's more diverse style like Symbolic.
"It is very easy indeed to get lost in the countless riffs and musical moods this album paints for the listener"
That's why this record is not a 4 imo, but somewhere around a 3. I have to agree with Notrap here, there are times this constant chaos works (like in Pain's invention, Time does not heal and Psychsexuality) and others that it gives you a headache.
As far as structures go, sure you are right that the standard structure may be restrictive, but there were other albums at the same time that did this non standard-structure thing pretty well, like Rust in Peace or Punishment for Decadence (Coroner).
Pos for the review, not because we agree, but because it is very well presented
"Pos for the review, not because we agree, but because it is very well presented"
Thank you. If only more people had that in mind while reading my reviews. I don't expect everyone to agree with my opinion, but I always aim for quality material.
As for the music, personally it is more of a grower. I will admit that my opinion of this album was not very high upon my first listen, but as I would play it throughout the last week or so I have grown to appreciate it for what it is; brutal and technical riffing with dark overtones.
This album totally rules and all, but what's with the vocals? Rinehart's vowels can be really weird sometimes, like "ON OUR CHILDREN'S MEEEEEENDS" or "FEMININITYYYYY, A SACRED LEEEEEEEHF". Other times, it sounds like he's almost on key, but isn't quite there, and it's really irritating. Not much else to complain about though. The lyrics are totally awesome, Gene Hoglan is great at writing them. I swear A Subtle Induction is about Bambi. The drums are awesome on here (Would you expect anything less from Gene fucking Hoglan himself?), but must importantly, the riffs fucking RULE. Holy shit, there might actually be 246 riffs on here.