Tuesday March 11 was a fun night for a couple of reasons. For one, DEATH ANGEL and TYR were at House of Blues Dallas, a show I’d been salivating over for months. Last time DA rolled through town was for that horrific South By SoWhat?!? nonsense where they only got to play five songs, and while they weren’t the headliner this time around they were who I was there to see. TYR and their contagious brand of Folk/Viking Metal were an added bonus, as I just got into them last summer. The other thing that made it a great night was getting to hang out with a few of my writer/photographer friends. We aren’t all together at the same shows very often but when we are it’s always a good time.
After a sumptuous meal, my partner in crime Jordan from Darkhouse Image and I headed over to the venue to catch TYR. Although they only played a short six song set, there was plenty of unbridled enthusiasm both onstage and in the crowd. One thing that surprised me was the sheer number of kids (teenagers) there wearing TYR and AMON AMARTH shirts. I don’t know who is getting to these kids and teaching them right, but Hails to them! Tracks from By the Light of the Northern Star, The Lay of Thrym, and latest record Valkyrja had the faithful throwing up the horns in approval. “Hold the Heathen Hammer High” was the perfect opener, guitarist Terji Skibenæs, bassist Gunnar H. Thomsen, and singer/guitarist Heri Joensen were pretty much all smiles and very appreciative of the goodwill shown them by Dallas. I wish I had a picture to share with you, but some chucklehead in the photo pit basically ruined everyone’s shots. Oh, and to the jerkface writer who said TYR has no stage presence? You’re a miserable prick, stay home next time.
Now it was time for the almighty DEATH ANGEL!! The house lights dimmed and the intro rolled and suddenly we were blasted into submission by “Left for Dead” off of fantastic new album The Dream Calls for Blood. Mark Osegueda was in full command of House of Blues this night, the General to an army of metalheads, and Field Commander guitarists Ted Aguilar and Rob Cavestany laid down suppressing fire while machine gunners Will Carroll on drums and bassist Damien Sisson mowed down everything in sight. Another new one “Son of the Morning” followed by “Claws In So Deep”, my favorite from 2010’s thrash-terpiece Relentless Retribution kept the assault in high gear. Mark made sure we knew how much DEATH ANGEL loved coming to Dallas and the crazies in attendance roared their approval back.
Some more new ear candy was next in “Succubus”, and then “Execution/Don’t Save Me” which starts off with a soft acoustic intro before morphing into a sonic death march, and another favorite of mine. But the high point for me was Mark’s inspired address to the crowd about being who you are and going after your dreams no matter what ANYONE has to say, and not to let friends, family, etc. stand in your way. This was the fitting intro to title track “The Dream Calls for Blood”, arguably the best song from the album, and DEFINITELY the best song of the night. The band then hopped into the way-back machine for “Mistress of Pain” from 1987’s The Ultra-Violence. Man, I can’t believe this album turns 27 next month…wow! Closing us out was one of my favorite DEATH ANGEL songs from their entire catalogue, “Thrown to the Wolves” off of The Art of Dying, 2004’s reunion album. The riffs and beat are so tightly wound making this a great way to end a white-hot set from one of thrash’s all-time greats. I got to spend some time chatting first with Mark and then Ted after their set during which I begged them to come back on a headlining run, even offering my living room up as the venue. I’m a lunatic, I know, but they were really nice guys and I’m glad to have met them. And I’m sure as fuck glad I didn’t miss DEATH ANGEL in Dallas! If you did, all I can say is you missed out, my friends. For shame.