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Hey now, Ron ain't that bad after all. - 83%

TrooperEd, September 3rd, 2017
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Century Media Records (The Black Edition, Kingsize Digipak in Slipcase)

If you were wondering why the hell I decided to subject myself with a second Ron Reinhart Dark Angel album after having a rather awful experience the first time (Time Does Not Heal), well let's just say my album buying habits necessitated it. All I can say I'm rather glad I did, because this is a serviceable follow up to Darkness Descends.

Is it as good? Hell no. Why this has a 93% average with Darkness Descends 86% is one of the most dumbfounding instances of mathematical mean schadenfreude I've ever seen, but my ranking comes less from a [lame] desire to intentionally lower the average and more from wondering who the hell told Gene Hoglan that cover of Immigrant Song was a good idea, as well as wincing when I hear Ron Reinhart start to sing and getting Time Does Not Heal flashbacks. Reinhart really should stick to what he does best; a thrash bark which, while doesn't conjure the pure evil dulcet tones of Don Doty, suits the chaos of Leave Scars much better than his Chuck Billy's one note impersonation.

Nothing here quite reaches the Mach 71 flash warp of Burning of Sodom or Perish In Flames, but if its speed-thrash you want than oh-ho yes Leave Scars has you covered squarely. The album wastes no time, harboring no wishes to establish mood or atmosphere, rocketing off with The Death of Innocence. An album opener so vile and meteoric Angel of Death and War Ensemble will be crying penalty to the referee for Dark Angel to wait for the starting gun.

Unlike Darkness Descends, Leave Scars has very little darkness or morbidity to speak of, save for the creepy Worms. If there was ever a track that perfectly encapsulates the dread of the album cover's little girl from what's under her bed (Jimmy Swaggart? Jimmy Saville?), this is it. I can see both sides of the argument for this one, on the one hand no its not a proper song, but on the other hand I actually felt this wouldn't have fucked up the proceedings on Darkness Descends too badly (no more-so than the bass intro on Merciless Death, anyway). So long as it was placed between Black Prophecies and Perish In Flames.

Gene Hoglan is once again in fine chaotic form, and we even see flashes of his future technical virtuosity in Death start to appear. Most notably we see this in the slow portion of No One Answers, where he keeps a groove that's punchy with kick drums but you can tell its more complicated than it sounds. No One Answers also features what is likely the albums most memorable riff: around the 6 minute mark this multilayered tooth monster comes in at Slayer speed and just devours your head while imprinting its pattern in your mind. Another high water mark is the instrumental Cauterization; chugging along at a moshing speed with Hoglan sounding he has 300 feet (one foot for every pound of his weight, how the fuck does he stay so fat after exerting all that energy?) with the Jim and Eric proving they can work just fine without a vocalist if necessary. If only they took that advice to heart on the next album.....on second thought, it still probably would have been 40 minutes too long.

If for some strange reason you get sick of Darkness Descends but still want that frenzied warp-factor Dark Angel thrash, Leave Scars is your best option (it's your only option really). A very worthy addition to your thrash collection.