Dark Angel

Leave Scars

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    5
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After a long hiatus, L.A.'s Dark Angel resurfaced in 1989 with their most ambitious album thus far, Leave Scars -- which continued to perfect their already quite impressive musical chops, while simultaneously refining their brutal thrashing. In effect, this is the album which inaugurates their progressive thrash phase, as increasingly complex structures and frequent, unexpected time changes result in numbers of epic proportions, such as "The Promise of Agony" and the relentless title track. New vocalist Ron Rinehart quickly proves his worth, knowing exactly where to sing and where to scream, but it's monster drummer Gene Hoglan who truly has his coming-out party, as he simultaneously displays his incredible technique and reveals himself as the band's principal songwriter and lyricist and prime instigator. With the dependable six-string tag team of Eric Meyer and Jim Durkin providing a bludgeoning backdrop, the band also proves they can still keep it short and sweet on highlights "The Death of Innocence" and "Never to Rise Again." Ultimately, Leave Scars only fails to score higher marks because Dark Angel forgot to add a final, crucial ingredient to its potent recipe: melody. And sure enough, addressing this small oversight would result in their magnum opus, 1991's colossal Time Does Not Heal.

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