Death Angel Archives and Artifacts

Of all the classic thrash bands, San Francisco’s Death Angel may be the most underrated. Five teenaged Phillipino-American metal heads that were all related, the members were all in their teens when their 1987 debut The Ultra-Violence was unleashed. They managed three studio albums before splitting in the early ’90s; a break-up that lasted until they reformed last year for the excellent The Art of Dying. Their first two albums, 1987’s The Ultra-Violence and 1998’s more experimental Frolic through the Park, were originally released on Enigma and are the cornerstones of this four-disc set, both remastered and expanded. The band’s original demo cassette, recorded in 1986 with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, is on the first album, while the second contains three previous unreleased tracks. The third disc, simply entitled Rarities, offers eleven songs that range from garage ghetto-blaster recordings to fully produced studio outtakes. These offer the diehards some new listening material, but it’s easy to see why they were left off the albums in the first place. The fourth disc is a DVD collecting their music videos, a vintage television interview and a video press kit for the first album. The videos are entertaining, although dated by technology and the press kit video is embarrassing in today's world. A thorough collection overall, however the one complaint that should be logged against it is its lack of booklet. While the two album reissues do contain their fair share of gig flyers, archival photos and memorabilia, only Frolic has decent historical liner notes. (Rykodisc)