Latest release: The Evil Divide (Nuclear Blast)Website: www.deathangel.us
California thrash legends Death Angel make a return appearance on Australian shores this May. This year’s tour, alongside fellow thrash second-wavers Sepultura, follows previous visits with Armored Saint and Kreator, both of which were something of a blur but eminently enjoyable, according to founding guitarist Rob Cavestany.
“Both times were amazing,” he declares in amiable, excited tones. “We had a blast mingling with people and trying to see what could and trying to absorb the culture. We did as much as a human can when they’re not getting any rest whatsoever! I have memories of laughing hysterically from delirium from the lack of sleep.”
This time around won’t offer much respite either, with the tour’s only rest day now being sacrificed for a show in Byron Bay.
“If I wasn’t already excited about coming there, this has just added to it,” the guitarist says about the extra date. “The only regret is that we don’t get to spend any time in all these places we are flying through, just to soak it up. We’ll take what we can get.”
He gets even keener about the extra show when he learns it’s the hometown of home-grown heavy heroes Parkway Drive.
“Oh really? Those guys are a solid band, man,” Cavestany says enthusiastically. They’re heavy… they’re really, really good. It would be cool if they were in town and came out to the show.”
Since reforming for the Chuck Billy fundraising tour Thrash of the Titans in 2001, Death Angel has been more active than they were during their original run in the mid-1980s, producing five albums including 2016’s excellent The Evil Divide, which scored 90% here on Loud and was well-acclaimed elsewhere. Their touring regime has been relentless, with last year’s schedule including nine weeks in North America with Slayer and Anthrax – “a definite highlight” – followed by five weeks on the road with DevilDriver, the European summer festival circuit and a month-long European tour with Testament and Annihilator that was, in his words, “incredible Really well received, killer energy every night.”
“We tour more now than we did when we were younger,” he continues. “If that’s believable! It’s actually true. We play on way more nights in a row than we used to.”
Unlike their friends and contemporaries in Slayer, Cavestany is certain that Death Angel aren’t about to hang up their touring shoes just yet: “We just love to play, man,” the 49 year old says, although he’s quick to admit that it’s far from an easy ride.
“Sure, it’s got its brutal side. People love to hear about how you’re struggling to get your old bones creaking the next day and everything aches”, he says with a laugh before continuing earnestly: “But we have to be more than 100% every time we play. That’s our rule, otherwise you can’t be a member of our gang. Our gang is full on, man! We love it with every molecule of our bodies. We realise the rarity of going on for this long. We really appreciate it and make the best of it. We have to consciously pay attention to that and take care of it.”