Dark Angel
Darkness Descends


1.5
very poor

Review

by Mikesn EMERITUS
July 23rd, 2007 | 105 replies


Release Date: 1986 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Boring, generic thrash metal at its very worst.

On paper, thrash metal should be the definitive sub-genre of metal. I mean, your stereotypical band has pretty much everything the musical style promotes. Speed. Heaviness. Aggression. Dark lyrics. Sinister imagery. Technical song structures. It's extreme, yet still somewhat accessible. It should be one hell of a listen for anyone who considers themselves a metalhead. But somewhere, somehow, something went wrong, and instead of a sub-genre in which all the core elements of metal are united in a fun, interesting manner, we got a boring, over-saturated scene with little room for progression or innovation. Off the top of my head, no band represents such notions as well as America's Dark Angel does. Through their brief, yet deceptively productive career, they've managed to combine all the clichés of thrash metal into a series of highly acclaimed, but extremely overrated albums. Their 1986 offering, Darkness Descends, is often considered their opus and a thrash classic and while this may be true, the record has some massive holes which just drag it down.

Often considered part of the so called "unholy trinity" of 1986, along with Kreator's Pleasure to Kill and Slayer's Reign in Blood, Darkness Descends relies on two very important elements. Any guesses? If speed and aggression immediately came to mind, then you'd be right. However, with their sophomore effort, Dark Angel doesn't just rely on said characteristics. It blatantly abuses them. Aside from a few short moments in the title track and an admittedly enjoyable bass intro at the beginning of Merciless Death, nearly the entire album follows one specific tempo (blazing fast, of course) and makes use of one riff. It's more repetitive than a DragonForce album (a fairly amazing feat itself), and not in a good way. From the opening seconds of Darkness Descends to the last couple notes of Perish in Flames, the album is virtually hookless and unmemorable. The solos are generic and unengaging. Legendary extreme metal drummer Gene Hoglan's performance may be fairly impressive from a thrash metal standpoint, yet despite being the most recognizable instrument in the mix, it fails to enhance the listening experience in any way. Basically, the song writing is very dull and underdeveloped (forsaken, perhaps?), leaving the individual talents of each musician rather useless.

After the whole song writing issue, the next major problem with Darkness Descends is the production. Now I know Dark Angel was not the most popular band during the recording of this release and their studio budget was likely rather slim, but the production values on the record are nothing short of horrid. The riffs are nearly indistinguishable partly due to the irksome buzz which plagues Eric Meyer and Jim Durkin's guitars. Hoglan's drumming is far too high in the mix and sounds both very irritating and very distracting. The vocal efforts as well are far too loud in comparison with the guitars and bass and Don Doty's lack of, well, talent essentially cripples the album's songs as Doty is a rather large part of them. Essentially, Doty is the third major drawback on Darkness Descends, and as his performance plays a large enough role in the music, to label this as the final nail in the coffin wouldn't be too much of a fallacy. Popular thrash vocalists such as James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine, and Tom Araya take quite a lot of heat for being mediocre at best singers (and rightfully so), but when compared to the likes of Don Doty their names might as well be Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, or Geoff Tate. As displayed in the likes of Perish in Flames, Death is Certain (Life is Not), and the title track, Doty can not hold a tune…at all. He shrieks, shouts, and screams his way through the seven track album and he sounds just as atrocious every other extreme thrash vocalist at the time. But then again, he does sound evil, so that must make him good right?

I suppose I can see why some thrash fans could like Darkness Descends. It combines elements held dearly by the genre into a brief 7 song album. Dark Angel's sophomore effort certainly is fast, evil, brutal, underground, unmelodic, raw, and whatnot, but despite this they fail to craft an album worth listening to. Be it through tedious, immature song writing, the stupid lyrics, or the lousy production, the band sounds a lot more like a group of 15 year old kids trying to be brutal and evil. Perhaps the lone positive aspect of the album is that at only 35 minutes it is quite short. Of course, because of the repetition, rehashing, and recycling of the record's material over and over again, the album does feel as though it is twice as long as it actually is, but at least you will only lose a half hour of your day. Right? Overall, Darkness Descends is a very poor effort from a band often proclaimed to be one of the metal underground's greatest acts. Well, if it truly is than that certainly says a lot about the thrash scene of the time. Don't waste your time. Seriously.



Recent reviews by this author
Funeral for a Friend ConduitPropagandhi Failed States
Tycho DiveMegadeth Th1rt3en
Fair to Midland Arrows and AnchorsArch Enemy Khaos Legions
user ratings (619)
4.2
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
July 24th 2007


3707 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

so i've been wanting to write this for a couple months and i finally got around to doing it. hope its alright





also everyone will probably hate it but wutever

Foodforthegods
July 24th 2007


425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I disagree...this album is a thrash classic.

rattlehead42147
July 24th 2007


1345 Comments


good review but i think you just need to let this grow on you.

Mikesn
Emeritus
July 24th 2007


3707 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Kind of the opposite, actually. I loved this at first, had it as a 5. But as I listened to it more often I liked it less and less.

south_of_heaven 11
July 24th 2007


5579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album is good, review is good, Mike just likes drugs a lot.



But this does bore me after a few tracks :|



There's some thrash I think you would really, really like Mike, but I know you'll never look into it :pThis Message Edited On 07.23.07

SpeakerCity
July 24th 2007


48 Comments


I thought this was a Hyperboleking review at first

meep17
July 24th 2007


136 Comments


Huh. I've been wanting to get into these guys. I'll reserve my judgement until I can
actually FIND an album by them (The music stores in my area don't have this or any
other album by this band; not even the ones that are supposed to have rare stuff!! >:/)
Lol at the above guy. Really, I don't see anything wrong with hyperboleking, though.
Just has very strong opinions and likes to exaggerate but that's about it. This Message Edited On 07.23.07

south_of_heaven 11
July 24th 2007


5579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I hate the production on older thrash albums, like on here...it makes the listening hard.

Shattered_Future
July 24th 2007


1589 Comments


See, this is a good example of writing a review that frames your arguments well. I disagree completely, but good job nonetheless.

Mikesn
Emeritus
July 24th 2007


3707 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

There's some thrash I think you would really, really like Mike, but I know you'll never look into it
Well it's summer and I have no job and two weeks to kill so maybe I will check out some of these bands. Name some and I'll try to find them.



I guess Deathchain. I that De Lirium's Oder EP you reviewed like a month ago was pretty solid. so ya wut else

I hate the production on older thrash albums, like on here...it makes the listening hard.
word. I don't expect mega-clean production from thrash bands but I when it's really bad like it is here it's kind of difficult to enjoy the music. But maybe i'm just not extreme enough anymore whatever.

south_of_heaven 11
July 24th 2007


5579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Deathchain - Deathrash Assault

Deceased - Supernatural Addiction

De Lirium's Order - Victim No. 52 (more melodic death than thrash but still awesome)

If you send me an email (Lacrosseguy48@hotmail.com) I can send links

chimera908
July 24th 2007


713 Comments


I've wanted to check this out for a while. Your review has me discouraged but I'm still gonna listen. Also I've heard great things about the thrash band Anacrusis if anyone wants to check them out, I still need to get to that too. Good review by the way.

Wizard
July 24th 2007


20370 Comments


Mikesn,
This album was nothing special. But I will say that Gene Hoglan is a monster on this album. Great review once again.

Eakflanderyof
July 24th 2007


3734 Comments


I've never heard this, but I do know that most thrash bores me. Mainly, because thrash bands rarely do anything different or unique. Sodom and Destruction were supposed to be great, but I found myself highly disappointed with those.

Angmar
July 24th 2007


2688 Comments


Good review, Kreator are my favorite thrash band right now, you might like them mike.

FR33L0RD
July 24th 2007


3500 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Good review (my pos vote)

Only one song i like on this album

@stevo2112

Indeed, Kreator do some good trashThis Message Edited On 07.24.07

Digging: Immolation - Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn

Mikesn
Emeritus
July 24th 2007


3707 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Kreator are my favorite thrash band right now, you might like them mike.
Perhaps.



I've never heard this, but I do know that most thrash bores me. Mainly, because thrash bands rarely do anything different or unique. Sodom and Destruction were supposed to be great, but I found myself highly disappointed with those.
Don't bother with this then, haha.



thanks for comments yo

Confessed2005
July 24th 2007


5339 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol at South implying Mike likes narcotics.

Mikesn
Emeritus
July 24th 2007


3707 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

its goooooood stuff

metallicaman8
July 24th 2007


4677 Comments


Splendid review, Mike :thumb:

I'll be sure to avoid this album



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy