January 11, 2024

In the video below, EMG artist Rob Cavestany of San Francisco Bay Area metal veterans DEATH ANGEL remembers hearing METALLICA for the first time. Rob also shared some great stories about meeting METALLICA, opening for them and having the band take the young DEATH ANGEL under their wings.

Rob said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The first time I heard METALLICA… Well, I can't define the exact first time; it was probably in somebody's car while we were partying in the backseat. But the first album and era was, of course, 'Kill 'Em All'. And we were fortunate enough to meet METALLICA when they did this meet-and-greet thing at the Record Exchange in Walnut Creek, California. So, we met them there. They were very nice to us. They ended up mentoring us. [METALLICA guitarist] Kirk Hammett ended up producing our demo that got us signed. So it's very, very, very meaningful and it definitely led to where I am today."

Rob went on to say that METALLICA's second LP, "Ride The Lightning", is "probably my favorite of their albums till this day. I was about to say I could remember the first time I heard that. We were skating in a parking lot in Concord and some dude was playing it, a friend of ours was playing it out of his car, but I think that was 'Master Of Puppets'," he corrected himself. "But anyway, 'Ride The Lightning' is very significant to me as well for the fact that that was one of the biggest gigs we had ever played at that point of time in our career at that point of time. We were basically still a local band. I don't even think our first album was out yet. No, it wasn't. But we got the call [in March 1985] and I remember I was just at my parents' house and my mom was, like, 'Phone for you. Something about a METALLICA show.' I was, like, 'What?' And I got on the phone, and it was Toni Isabella [who worked for Bill Graham Presents]. And she said, 'Does DEATH ANGEL wanna open up for METALLICA at the Kabuki [Theater in San Francisco]?' Two nights — 'Ride The Lightning' tour, I said 'yes.' We had those gigs. They were amazing. We actually almost missed the first night because the van that was taking me to the show broke down on the freeway. And my dad came to the rescue, and we threw the stuff in his van, and I made it to the show to play the last three songs. I was bumming. We were all bumming, and they were pissed. But the next night was great. We played our whole set."

Back in January 2018, DEATH ANGEL singer Mark Osegueda spoke to RadioactiveMike Z about how his band ended up getting Hammett to produce its first demo, 1985's "Kill As One". He recalled: "[Kirk] took us under his wing when we were very, very young, prior to being signed. We would give him tapes of new songs. We'd see him at Ruthie's Inn or any of those local clubs and we'd give him cassette tapes of new stuff we'd written. It was literally in our rehearsal room. So what we'd do is we'd get our tape recorded or boom box, hit 'Play' and 'Record', stick it in a carboard box and throw a jacket over it and put it in the middle of the room, and that's how we'd record these new songs. And I'd give 'em to Kirk when I'd see him at these shows, just hoping he'd listen. Next time I'd see him at a club, he [would be like], 'Hey, I really dug that new song you wrote.' And eventually he approached us and was, like, 'I'd really be interested in producing a demo for you guys.' How are you gonna say no to that? So it was brilliant. We recorded that up in Glen Ellen, California, which is up in the Wine Country. We went up to the studio there, and over weekends, when we weren't at school, we would go up there and stay at the studio and just record on the weekends. And we did that for about three weeks — three or four weeks even — and it worked out great. And eventually, that's the demo that got us signed to Enigma that released our first two records."

Cavestany told Metal Refuge that working with Hammett was a "totally inspiring" experience, "because at that point in time, 'Ride The Lightning' had just come out, and so we were just freaking out that we were going to be doing this demo with the guitar player who was on 'Ride The Lightning', for God's sake! Basically, we were already kind of somewhat friends anyway, from just around the scene here and there. This was before METALLICA was untouchable. At that point in time, they were actually our local mentors in the scene, and we had just done some shows, either we were just about to do the shows, or we just did a couple shows with METALLICA at this place called the Kabuki nightclub in San Francisco. It was actually METALLICA, ARMORED SAINT and DEATH ANGEL. It was a great time. Kirk came in and basically just brought his experience to the recording studio with us, and also took his vibe and energetic and enthusiastic way that he was. It was just extremely thrilling for us at the time."

In recent years, Hammett has joined DEATH ANGEL on stage to perform the the METALLICA song "Trapped Under Ice" and the BLACK SABBATH classic "Heaven And Hell".

DEATH ANGEL's latest album, "Humanicide", was released in May 2019 via Nuclear Blast. The LP saw DEATH ANGEL returning to producer and friend Jason Suecof (DEICIDE, TRIVIUM) of Audiohammer studios for the recording and mixing, along with the mastering of the legendary Ted Jensen (SLIPKNOT, PANTERA) of Sterling Sound, who added the final touches and brought it all to life, with artist Brent Elliott White (LAMB OF GOD, MEGADETH) providing the ominous cover artwork.

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