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Forget Slayer, THIS IS BRUTAL! - 100%

ThrashFanatic, February 13th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Icarus Music (Reissue)

In my last review, I discussed Dark Angel's debut effort "We Have Arrived". Though flawed, it was an underrated classic that should of gotten more attention. THIS however, makes Slayer sound like The Wiggles! Reign In Blood, while a good record, was WAY overrated. This record was much more focused, and the riffs are MUCH better and the solos are a million times better. Let's take a look at Dark Angel's magnum opus...

The record begins with the title track, and it is some of the most insane thrash ever conceived in the 80's. The riffs from Eric Meyer and Jim Durkin are much more focused this time, and the songwriting is more advanced. The tone is thrash as fuck! Whatever tone Meyer and Durkin were using, this tone is how thrash guitars should sound! Vocalist Don Doty sounds considerably more brutal here than he did on "We Have Arrived". His vocal delivery is almost crazed in nature, you could just FEEL the intensity in his performance here. He spits out the lyrics with such venomous rage, not enough words can truly put it into words. Bassist Rob Yahn is highly audible in the mix this time around, and his bass is awesome! He doesn't just follow the guitars, his bass lines stand out and are original. Last but not least, we have the greatest thrash drummer ever, THE ATOMIC CLOCK GENE HOGLAN!!! Gene's drumming is pretty much downright INSANE on this record, especially on "The Burning Of Sodom". His drumming performance is so impressive, it leads one to believe if it is actually humanly possible for someone to have THAT much endurance and stamina. As for the highlights? Well...

"Merciless Death" was re-recorded from "We Have Arrived", and to be honest, I actually enjoyed the original more. I think the more rough around the edges sound of the original version was more aggressive in nature, but there's nothing wrong with this version. As I said in my last review, you can't go wrong with this classic! "Black Prophecies" is in my top 20 favorite thrash songs of all time. The music and the lyrics are state-of-the-art. Take a look for yourself...

"The one who knew
Where we'd stand
In centuries ahead of where he roamed the land
He'd seen the fear
Upon the earth
Hatred, death, and pain, four-hundred years worth
A witness to
And evil warmongers insanity
His written words
Upon the page
Black prophecies!!!"

ABSOLUTE GENIUS! Nothing can top that now, come on! This is truly the ultimate thrash song, and easily the highlight of the record, even better than "Merciless Death" I dare say. This leads us to the final track, "Perish In Flames". According to Gene himself, this track was actually his mother's favorite from the record. This is an excellent choice for a favorite, because the riffs are crazy! The vocal performance is pure lunacy! You can't come close to being this unhinged, it just isn't possible! This is an awesome track, and a great way to close out the most brutal 35 minutes in thrash!

So all in all, Dark Angel definitely reached their peak on this record. "Time Does Not Heal" is really good also, but this is just an iconic album. The only records I can think of that come close to being as brutal as this are Morbid Saint's "Spectrum Of Death" and Demolition Hammer's "Epidemic Of Violence". This record truly needs to be heard in order to truly grasp the criminally insane intensity of it. I highly recommend this to fans of Slayer, Exodus, Kreator, Morbid Saint, Blood Feast, Demolition Hammer, and Exumer.

Highlights: EVERYTHING!!!