Death Angel Makes Joyously Fierce Return to Boise

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Death Angel frontman Mark Osegueda rips at The Shredder, Feb. 9. - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Death Angel frontman Mark Osegueda rips at The Shredder, Feb. 9.

Around 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, the youngest attendee of the Death Angel show arrived. Lucas Coronado, age 2, came in atop an elderly gentleman’s shoulders. Young Lucas wore a Curious George toddler safety harness and a blue jean jacket with Social Distortion, NOFX and Motorhead patches. Upon seeing him, a couple of long-haired metal fans smiled, waved and gave him high-fives.

“It’s a metal show, man,” said Steve James, a husky, middle-aged man in a black Amon Amarth hoodie. “Everybody’s nice.”

On this night, James was right. More than 130 people came to The Shredder to watch Death Angel—one of the most respected bands to come out of the '80s San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal scene—play its first show in Boise since 1990. The crowd responded to the band’s jackhammer-like drums, screeching guitars and screamed vocals with wild applause and frequent throwing of the horns.

“I’ve been hoping and praying this band would play here,” lead singer Mark Osegueda said midway through Death Angel’s set. That wasn’t just touring-band flattery: Osegueda told the crowd later that he’d written the lyrics for the albums Killing Season (Nuclear Blast Records, 2008) and Relentless Retribution (Nuclear Blast Records, 2010) while visiting Idaho.

Death Angel had also persevered against adverse road conditions and illness (Osegueda mentioned that bassist Damien Sisson had a 102-degree fever) to play the Boise gig. The fact that Osegueda was celebrating his birthday this night made the performance even more special (the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to the singer before the band played its encore).

Boise Weekly couldn’t get to The Shredder in time for local thrash band Latimer’s opening set, unfortunately, but fellow local opener XEX played an enjoyable set. The trio’s chugging riffs and pounding drums sounded a bit ragged at times, but the humor of songs like “Sludge”—about the unfortunate consequences of eating fast food—more than compensated.

Krystos followed with a ferocious and audaciously skillful performance. The local thrash band’s dexterous guitar work and pulverizing drums spurred the crowd to mosh manically from the set’s thunderous first chords. But the audience got even more frenzied when Death Angel played.

Death Angel’s set included the song “Evil Priest” from its debut album The Ultra-Violence (Restless/Enigma, 1987). If you didn’t know what to do, Osegueda said beforehand, “you were raised wrong.”

Judging from the moshing that ensued, the crowd was raised right.


Billy Thornock, of local band Krystos, worked the crowd into a maniacal mosh frenzy prior to Death Angel's set. - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Billy Thornock, of local band Krystos, worked the crowd into a maniacal mosh frenzy prior to Death Angel's set.