Iron Angel participated in the first wave of Teutonic thrash metal bands -- a bustling musical community that also gave rise to such famed outfits as Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Helloween, Running Wild, and many more, and arguably represented the largest concentration of bands exploiting this new genre outside the much vaunted San Francisco Bay Area. Born in 1983 from the ashes of an earlier Hamburg-based band named Metal Gods, Iron Angel consisted of vocalist Dirk Schroder, guitarists Peter Wittke and Sven Struven, bassist Thorsten Lohmann, and drummer Mike Mattes, and recorded a trio of demos before signing with homegrown label Steamhammer. Their full-length debut, Hellish Crossfire, emerged in 1985 and contained an explosive mix of speed and thrash metal that generally avoided the uncompromising black metal-tinged direction preferred by Kreator, Sodom, and their ilk, to embrace the melodic power metal-leaning style also championed by Helloween. In fact, Iron Angel seemed to be threatening to abandon thrash altogether with their far more accessible sophomore effort, Winds of War, in 1986 (where Jürgen Blackmore, son of Deep Purple icon Ritchie, guested on guitar), and it was not that surprising when increasing musical differences resulted in their breakup one year later. More than a decade passed in which Iron Angel's small contribution to the '80s thrash metal movement grew more obscure, but not forgotten, and the group was actually preparing to record a reunion album in the year 2000 when, sadly, guitarist Peter Wittke was killed in a car crash, putting an end to those plans.