Rating:
6.8
Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
17 November 1986


01. Darkness Descends
02. The Burning Of Sodom
03. Hunger Of The Undead
04. Merciless Death
05. Death Is Certain (Life Is Not)
06. Black Prophecies
07. Perish In Flames
08. Merciless Death [live] [1998 re-release bonus]
09. Perish In Flames/Darkness Descends [live] [1998 re-release bonus]


1986 is considered a golden year for Thrash Metal releases: Master Of Puppets, Reign In Blood, Peace Sells... Dark Angel also released a CD that year called Darkness Descends. It is considered a classic by many, but I'm going to draw conclusions closer to the end.

A big change on this album is Gene Hoglan replacing Jack Schwartz on drums. As one may guess the drum work became more technical and insane, but Gene also turned out to be a great songwriter. So the lyrics written by him are impressive from the very first verse of the first song. A lot of them deal with questions of Christianity and denial of God. I can't say that I like them or share the author's opinion, but the imagery in the lyrics and word choice make me wonder if Gene Hoglan has a PhD in something. But alas this is all that is truly great about this album.

For me personally, Darkness Descends is a let down after We Have Arrived. The starting riff of Darkness Descends (both the song and the album) actually gives a lot of hope for the album to be good, but then the band makes it clear that the main philosophy behind their music is "playing faster." They even included a song from the previous album called "Merciless Death" and just played it faster and more aggressively. But music is more than just playing faster. The songs sound too similar as far as the riffs and "machine-gun" singing. Just two songs somewhat stand out: "The Burning Of Sodom" and "Black Prophecies." The former has a catchy chorus, a pretty cool solo series, and a melody change, but that's as far as it goes. So the only song that vindicates the musicianship of this album is "Black Prophecies." Only on this song do they keep the speed down a little, so at least you have an impression of listening to a different song. Moreover, the lyrics are just perfection: talking about Nostradamus and his predictions like the Great Fire of London, the rise of Napoleon and Hitler and Armageddon. In one verse, there is actually a direct quote from one of Nostradamus' works.

For this record to be successful, it would need songs like "Black Prophecies" and to have their intro-type riffs placed in the main parts of the songs merely for the diversity purpose. The funny thing is that most of the songs start with great vibes, but then turn into a homogeneous mass ("Perish In Flames" being another example besides "Darkness Descends"), and the drum work also takes it's toll here. With all due respect to Gene Hoglan, he sounds just too repetitive on most songs. On top of it the drums are a little too up-front, so production shortcomings from the previous album are heard on this one too.

As much as I don't want to make up such a conclusion, Darkness Descends proves to be Dark Angel's worst album.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Band profile: Dark Angel
Album: Darkness Descends


 


written by K†ulu | 28.07.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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Martin_metal - 21.05.2009 at 19:45  
"Worst album"?? I think this this is their best album, and one of the best thrash albums aswell...period!!!
Marcel Hubregtse - 21.05.2009 at 19:56  
Written by Martin_metal on 21.05.2009 at 19:45

"Worst album"?? I think this this is their best album, and one of the best thrash albums aswell...period!!!


Same here. IMO this is Dark Ange's best album and one of the ten best thrash albums ever.
Elio - 21.05.2009 at 20:04  
The drumming on the title track alone deserves way more than that
K†ulu - 22.05.2009 at 13:53  
Finally, people started to comment on how great this album is. I listened to it again yesterday, and while it seemed to me that I liked it a bit more than before, it's still not very versatile musically.
Valentin B - 16.09.2009 at 13:14  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.05.2009 at 19:56

Written by Martin_metal on 21.05.2009 at 19:45

"Worst album"?? I think this this is their best album, and one of the best thrash albums aswell...period!!!


Same here. IMO this is Dark Ange's best album and one of the ten best thrash albums ever.

wow, we need to open a champagne i actually agree with you on a full sentence

pushing the envelope, playing faster and heavier and more screaming than everyone else, all the while still being coherent and having excellent riffs, this is pretty much one of the best thrash albums i've ever heard and the heaviest music i can actually stand.
BudDa - 22.09.2009 at 19:45  
I also thought this album was faster, more technically gifted and my picks top thrash album eva!! I think your score was way too LOW!
Thrash - 21.04.2010 at 14:27  
Written by Valentin B on 16.09.2009 at 13:14

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.05.2009 at 19:56

Written by Martin_metal on 21.05.2009 at 19:45

"Worst album"?? I think this this is their best album, and one of the best thrash albums aswell...period!!!


Same here. IMO this is Dark Ange's best album and one of the ten best thrash albums ever.

wow, we need to open a champagne i actually agree with you on a full sentence

pushing the envelope, playing faster and heavier and more screaming than everyone else, all the while still being coherent and having excellent riffs, this is pretty much one of the best thrash albums i've ever heard and the heaviest music i can actually stand.


I agree with you guys. This is one of the best metal album. This is the fastest and most brutal album of all time. Slayer are credited to be the most brutal and technical combination band but they suck in comparision to Dark angel. They sound really awesome even if the speed tears eardrums. I especially love songs Black Prophecies, Death is Certain , Darkness descends, Perish in Flames. OOps i've almost named all the songs of this album.Great band and great album
Valentin B - 22.05.2010 at 12:52  
I love what some guy on the metal-archives reviews says about this album: "This album will kill you and if it doesn't your probably already dead".. i mean just listen to the first 30 seconds of Burning of Sodom.. holy FUCKING SHIT!!! this album gives a new meaning to the syntax "over the top"
Maxx666 - 22.08.2010 at 08:19  
Written by Thrash on 21.04.2010 at 14:27

Written by Valentin B on 16.09.2009 at 13:14

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 21.05.2009 at 19:56

Written by Martin_metal on 21.05.2009 at 19:45

"Worst album"?? I think this this is their best album, and one of the best thrash albums aswell...period!!!


Same here. IMO this is Dark Ange's best album and one of the ten best thrash albums ever.

wow, we need to open a champagne i actually agree with you on a full sentence

pushing the envelope, playing faster and heavier and more screaming than everyone else, all the while still being coherent and having excellent riffs, this is pretty much one of the best thrash albums i've ever heard and the heaviest music i can actually stand.


I agree with you guys. This is one of the best metal album. This is the fastest and most brutal album of all time. Slayer are credited to be the most brutal and technical combination band but they suck in comparision to Dark angel. They sound really awesome even if the speed tears eardrums. I especially love songs Black Prophecies, Death is Certain , Darkness descends, Perish in Flames. OOps i've almost named all the songs of this album.Great band and great album

Same here. This has got to be the best Dark Angel album and of course it deserve a a spot in the top 10 thrash albums....
vezzy - 22.08.2010 at 13:18  
Definitely. Although not quite the fastest (Wehrmacht is faster), it's still an awesome thrash album.
Marcel Hubregtse - 22.08.2010 at 13:51  
Written by vezzy on 22.08.2010 at 13:18

Definitely. Although not quite the fastest (Wehrmacht is faster), it's still an awesome thrash album.


but then again Wehrmacht is more crossover than pure thrash.
vezzy - 22.08.2010 at 14:39  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 22.08.2010 at 13:51
but then again Wehrmacht is more crossover than pure thrash.


That's true, but I never felt the crossover elements were very strong.
Marcel Hubregtse - 22.08.2010 at 15:12  
Written by vezzy on 22.08.2010 at 14:39

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 22.08.2010 at 13:51
but then again Wehrmacht is more crossover than pure thrash.


That's true, but I never felt the crossover elements were very strong.


mmm I always felt them to be very strong same for cryptic slaughter. But m@ybe it is due to the fact I grew up with those albums at the time of release and not nowadays.
vezzy - 22.08.2010 at 15:22  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 22.08.2010 at 15:12
mmm I always felt them to be very strong same for cryptic slaughter. But m@ybe it is due to the fact I grew up with those albums at the time of release and not nowadays.


Biermacht is strong, in my mind, but not Shark Attack.
Although I definitely agree with Cryptic Slaughter.
Void Eater - 14.03.2011 at 02:32  
Uhh, are you listening to the right album...? This is a masterpiece, one of the best thrash albums ever, and the best out of the 1986 ubholy trinity of thrash, the other two being Reign in Blood and Pleasure to Kill. Sure its not horribly diverse, but the songd are distinquishable, and more importantly, its just an onslaught of classic thrash fucking metal riffs from begining to end.
mohammedMG - 28.07.2011 at 18:35  
6.8 is a very low rating for this magnificent album, i became a fan of the band when i only listened to the first track of this album
Guib - 03.10.2013 at 04:53  
Wow Ktulu went very hard on this one... personally I consider this album as being the best from Dark Angel, and honestly a 6.8 is almost being rude. To me this would go along the lines of 8, 8.5 but who am I to argue with Ktulu's opinions. Anyways I would just like to say to those who might be losing interest in this album because of the review to go and listen to this, if you like aggressive thrash, you'll love this album. Its pure fast paced aggression thrown to your face as if it was a canon ball. Trust me.
pkillerjp - 07.03.2014 at 20:26  
This is their best album, really their only good album in my opinion. There's some aggressive drumming and this is their only album where they consistently deliver good to great riffs, and they come in at hyper speed. The only problem I hear is I still never liked either one of their vocalists, but Don is the better of the two, and this kills his weak performance on the debut album.
deadone - 11.03.2014 at 00:39  
I like this album, but I've never got quite into it.

Doesn't help I've always compared it to Kreator's Pleasure To Kill which I heard at the same time and which I have always preferred over it.

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