Reactivated California thrash metal pioneers DARK ANGEL are continuing to write material for their long-awaited comeback album. The band’s first CD since 1991’s “Time Does Not Heal” will feature the lineup that has performed sporadic live shows since reuniting in 2013: Gene Hoglan (drums), Eric Meyer (guitar), Jim Durkin (guitar), Ron Rinehart (vocals) and Michael Gonzalez (bass).
In a brand new interview with Metal Wani, Hoglan stated about the progress of the songwriting sessions for DARK ANGEL‘s new album: “My main thing, I guess, is trying to free up the time to get the writing done. Jim and myself were the primary writers back in the day. Eric would throw in some ideas when he had ‘em, and I’m sure he’s got ideas now. We aren’t quite to that level to where we’re, like, ‘Hey, everybody, toss us your ideas.’ ‘Cause Jim and I are still working on stuff. And one thing I do realize about DARK ANGEL and the writing process of DARK ANGEL is, even though we now have all this modern technology of, you know, you can Skype with somebody, and play guitar over Skype with somebody, and send files of, ‘Hey, I’ve got a demo. I’ve got some drum tracks on the demo and some guitar tracks. Learn this,’ even though all that technology exists, at least myself, and the way I feel with Jim, I think we still work best when we are both sitting in the same room together and just firing out ideas at each other, and that’s where it’s been a challenge over the last seven or eight months, ‘cause I’ve spent most of these seven or eight months on the road. I just right now got off four months straight with DEATH and TESTAMENT, so now that we’ve got a little bit of time home… We got back this week, earlier this week, and I got sick immediately, so now I’m just getting over it. So I would imagine in this coming time period that we have off, Jim and I are gonna be getting together and firing some ideas off each other, and it’s on again, so that’s pretty cool.”
Regarding the musical direction of DARK ANGEL‘s new material, Hoglan said: “I guess the thing that I, personally, myself, am trying to do is not necessarily recreate any of DARK ANGEL‘s previous sounds, but try to recreate the feelings that we had, the energy that we had. Like the energy that we had when we were writing ‘Darkness Descends’, try to capture that energy, just that feeling, rather than, like, ‘Oh, let’s just write another song that sounds like ‘The Burning Of Sodom’, or, ‘another song that sounds like ‘Black Prophecies’ or something like that.’ Let’s not worry about repeating ourselves, but it’s okay if we recapture the enthusiasm and the energy that we had when we were really young. There were no rules, there wasn’t anybody looking over our shoulders, [saying], ‘Hey, you’d better write songs like this.’ That’s the way we feel now: nobody is looking over our shoulders. We do have people saying, ‘Hey, can we get the process moving?’ And, yes, we’re trying that, but nobody is telling us, ‘You have to write like this,’ or, ‘You have to write like that.’ All I wanna do is write like DARK ANGEL. And I’m sure DARK ANGEL 2015 might have some different elements that DARK ANGEL 1986 had, but the aggression is still gonna be there. And I personally wanna write the most ball-crushing record we can. I’ve been talking about that in the press, and people come up [and ask me], ‘Well, what does ball-crushing mean?’ [I wanna make] an album that, if you’ve waited for… What’s it been? It’ll be 25 years since the last DARK ANGEL record, essentially. If you’ve been waiting that long, you will be absolutely pleased with the wait; you won’t be disappointed. This is not some limp return record — I won’t let it be. My quality control, Jim‘a quality control, Eric, Ron, Gonz‘ [Mike Gonzalez]… all of our quality control is we just want it to be the coolest record we can do. I’m obviously an old vet at this, and I know what’s cool, so if I think it’s cool, I have a feeling other people are gonna think it’s cool too.”
Asked if DARK ANGEL has particular release date in mind for the next album or if there is a target date for the band to enter the studio, Hoglan said: “[There are] no plans whatsoever. We are just still writing. [Jim is] just writing; that’s what Jim is doing. He’s, like, ‘I’m writing everything right now.’ And, I’ve gotta admit, a lot of it is super, like, ‘God, this is what I’m talking about, Jim.’ And other stuff is, like… He’ll preface the e-mail with the attachment, saying, ‘I know this isn’t quite what we’re probably looking for, but, hey, here’s something I just wrote anyway.’ And it’s always cool — Jim writes great riffs — and so much of it is directly what DARK ANGEL is. Jim Durkin created DARK ANGEL, and I’ve always said that, hey, he was the guiding force. Even after Jim left, he was the guiding force through me, because I’m not gonna let DARK ANGEL slack in anything, just because we don’t have the founding member, the creative member of the team. So now that Jim and I are back, it’s awesome. We have a great relationship, a great writing relationship, so I’m really stoked. And all I wanna do is write an album that just buries fucking everybody.”
DARK ANGEL released two albums with Don Doty on vocals — 1984’s “We Have Arrived” and 1986’s “Darkness Descends” — before he exited the group and was replaced by Ron Rinehart (after a brief stint with Jim Drabos in 1987). The band issued two more studio LPs — 1989’s “Leave Scars” and 1991’s “Time Does Not Heal” — before calling it quits in 1992. Rinehart, Hoglan and Meyer reassembled DARK ANGEL more than a decade ago but were forced to abandon their reunion plans after health issues reportedly put Rinehart‘s singing career on hold.
DARK ANGEL performance footage: