Death Angel’s circuitous story makes for stronger documentary material than most thrash bands’ narrative template (release albums, split, return post-millennium to pick up where left off).
A youthful Bay Area quintet of Filipino descent, mostly cousins, they released three albums, then suffered a coach crash that shocked them into splitting up.
As if exhibiting musical concussion, members spent the 90s exploring non-metallic avenues in since-forgotten bands, before finally accepting in 2001 that thrash metal pumps through their veins. Original members Mark Osegueda and Rob Cavestany relate the whole story with a winning combination of candour and good humour, spliced with on-the-road, studio and live footage. Running up to the end of the Relentless Retribution era, this meticulously assembled affair draws strong talking-head action from the likes of Scott Ian, Gary Holt and Chuck Billy. The latter steals the show by declaring, “I had to go get cancer to bring Death Angel back together!” referring to his San Francisco benefit show that reunited the band. A Thrashumentary is a touch overlong at 153 minutes: the segment in which bandmembers verbally list all the cities they’ve toured should never have made the cut. Still, Death Angel fans have everything they need here.