Death Angel have paved such a rich metal history throughout their career. They are a band that has remained fresh and a top of the Thrash Metal genre from their inception. Since the release of their debut, The Ultra Violence in 1987, the band has been respected. The band released two further albums in quick succession, but unfortunately, during the initial stages of the tour to support ACT III, the band had a near fatal bus accident and this stopped the band immediately and prematurely.
Fast forward over fifteen years and the band were on the scene again, and this reformed Death Angel were a band with a renewed energy and a band who still had so much to play for. The band, signing to Nuclear Blast, have released nothing but strong albums up to and including, the latest release The Evil Divide in 2016. Rob Cavestany, band leader and principle songwriter sat down with me to discuss the band in 2018, ahead of their tour with Sepultura in May in this year. The band have toured Australia twice beforehand, first with Armoured Saint and the second tour with Kreator. They are a band who deliver live and I am pumped to be seeing them again this year.
Rob how does it feel to be coming back to Australia, and with Sepultura in May this year?
“It feels quite exciting and fabulous and fantastic!! It has been way too long and I don’t understand why we can’t get there sooner to be honest. But Australia is a rare treat for us and it is something that we enjoy, we love coming down there. The reaction that we get is brilliant, the people are so nice and we love the country. So it feels great man.”
The band has a real stable line-up now, a few albums strong and a number of tours later, how does that feel?
“That also feels amazing; it is something that gives you a lot of inner confidence. It is also a joy to get deeper friendships with the guys, and you know you get tighter as a band and as a unit. It is not easy to keep this together and I understand why bands have so many line-up changes. It is a five way marriage and it is hard! I don’t take any of this for granted and I am so blessed that we have kept it together.”
What should Australian audiences expect from the up and coming tour?
“A night of serious music and with Sepultura, you know their reputation precedes them. They are a legendary band. I think it is fair to say we know what we are doing, they know what they are doing, and our set lists will complement each other. But both bands will be out do the other in and we will be working hard every night. This isn’t an unfriendly thing or a problem we are just two professional bands who want to make sure we give the best show possible. You know audiences can’t lose on this tour.”
The last time you played here, with Kreator, the band really seemed to have been reborn, with so much energy and with a real intent. What do you put this down to?
“I put this down to our love for music and what we do. Collectively and individually, without a doubt we live for that moment on stage. When you put us all together we feed off each other and we have that vibe. It is a wonderful thing and we are fortunate to be working together as a band and a team. I don’t know how long it is going to last but if anything we are so excited to come down there and to play again. AS I said with Sepultura we have a positive rivalry we will push each other to play the best we can every night.”
Now to the latest album The Evil Divide, I did discuss the album with you on its release last year, but how does it sit with you now nearly a year later?
“I love it, and just as much, maybe because it still feels fresh. Initially you are listening to it a lot, you know in the studio and mixing the thing. Then when it first comes out you are still listening to it and are nervous about it. It still sits so well with us and we love it. We are proud of it!”
How much material from the new album are you playing live?
“We haven’t finally defined the setlist but judging by recent tours we will probably play three songs. We have to mix in so much other material and we make a point to try and put in a song from every album and you know this is eight songs as it is. It becomes an increasingly difficult task but we are still pushing this album and there are a number of songs I think that will become regulars in our set.”
Looking back to The Art of Dying, the first album you released when you reformed. Did you think at that point, or were there plans, to keep the band playing together for such a long period of time?
“It absolutely happened organically. We just thought that, well we were going to do an album. From this initial gig up until Killing Season we were living day by day as a band. We couldn’t believe that people still wanted to see us and so it just unfolded. It wasn’t until Relentless Retribution that we really started to plan ahead. It has been an amazing journey and we don’t take any of this for granted.”
So from 2004 to 2018 what stands out for you as the highlight for Death Angel?
“I would have to say there has to be a couple. The original highlight was obviously the first show we played back together as the benefit for Chuck Billy and we didn’t know if people even wanted to listen to us. This show went off amazingly and this set the course for the next fourteen years. The next time would be the second time we played when we went to Europe and the response we got was beyond overwhelming and so we started to think that this wasn’t a fluke. We started to think that the fans were still us! From her fast forward to 2011 when we released Relentless Retribution and this was the moment that I knew that we had a line-up. You know Andy and Gus had stepped down and so this was a scary time. But the line-up has been so positive and the unit became so tight and it has lasted now for three albums so that was a really highlight and a turning point I guess too.”
So what is the next move for the band after this touring cycle, is there another album in waiting?
“Right now I am writing the next album and I am trying to get enough writing in to start rehearsing for the tour. We have a couple of months for this and I want to really nut some things out. I also need some down time, to step away as I get obsessed and I struggle to slow down. It is rare for me to get a break and I am going to take it! So after this tour we are playing a few festival shows in Europe and then we will be recording the new album.”
It was a sincere pleasure to be speaking with Rob again, he is a true gentleman and an amazing musician. The band are the best they have ever been and to be seeing Death Angel again in Australia is fantastic. Any metal fan worth their weight will be heading to this gig in May and with Sepultura added to the mix, there is nothing to lose.
For tickets head to Metropolis Touring
SEPULTURA Tour Dates
With specials guests Death Angel
Tuesday 15th May – MELBOURNE, 170 Russell
Wednesday 16th May – ADELAIDE, The Gov
Friday 18th May – BRISBANE, Eatons Hill Hotel
Saturday 19th May – SYDNEY, The Metro Theatre
Sunday 20th May – PERTH, Capitol