Long-Awaited New DARK ANGEL Album Will Have 'A Lot Of The JIM DURKIN Influence On It'

May 21, 2024

In a new interview with Rocking With Jam Man, Gene Hoglan was asked if there is any truth the rumors that there will be a new studio album from reunited California thrash metal pioneers DARK ANGEL later this year. Gene responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I am, unfortunately, not at liberty to say what is actually happening with DARK ANGEL, but I know that at some time very, very soon, when I have some solid schedule, some solid dates to be able to announce some really fun news for the DARK ANGEL fans, we're gonna be able to announce some stuff. And so that's gonna be super awesome. I've been working diligently for the last couple of years on some projects that are gonna make DARK ANGEL fans really happy, I think. So, everybody, just sit tight. I just don't wanna nebulously announce something and then have circumstances beyond my control come along and make things delayed. I just wanna be able to be able to say, 'Yes, this is gonna be a solid date that we can announce for people, and we're gonna be able to stick to that date.' That's what I'm all about. So, keep your eyes and ears peeled, everybody."

Asked what it has been like making new DARK ANGEL music more than 30 years after the release of the band's last album, 1991's "Time Does Not Heal", Gene responded: "Well, that's one thing. It's like we had a choice. I had an entire DARK ANGEL album written that was ready to start getting recorded after the 'Time Does Not Heal' record, and circumstances occurred where the band just had to dissolve. So, I had a bunch of material written. And when [DARK ANGEL guitarist] Jim Durkin and myself — Jim is no longer with us, but when we put DARK ANGEL back together and we started talking about, like, 'What do we wanna do for the future? Do we wanna write some new material?' And 'I've got some ideas, Gene, and you probably have some ideas.' And I have a number of songs that I sent to Jim. And when Jim heard that — I sent it to him on a CD — he freaked out and he was, like, 'My God, here's our new album. This is gonna be our next record. Hell yeah.' And he got really excited about that material. But I was, like, 'Hey, Jim, tell you what. I feel really strongly about my writing chops, and the songs I'm hearing from you right now are crushing. So how about we just write new stuff, get together and start writing new material?' And so we kind of went that route."

He continued: "For my elements of what I wanted DARK ANGEL to sound like, Jim Durkin is a huge influence on my writing style. So I wanted this to have a lot of the Jim Durkin influence on it. In terms of riffs, there's not as many from Jim as we were hoping for, but Jim's entire presence is all over the new DARK ANGEL material that I've been working on. And he's a huge guitar influence on me, as well as a lot of people. So, there's definitely gonna be a pretty hardy Jim Durkin influence. And I just wanna write a kick-ass metal album. So what I've tried to do is not go back 35 years or 37 years or whatever, 'Darkness Descends' or even 'We Have Arrived', those early albums, or 'Leave Scars' or 'Time Does Not Heal', I've not tried to duplicate anything from any of those albums, but I tried to put myself in the mindset of what if DARK ANGEL just kept writing albums for the last 30-whatever years, 32, 33 years, where would we be at now? And so that has been my approach on the new DARK ANGEL material."

Durkin died on March 8, 2023 at the age of 58. An original member of DARK ANGEL, Durkin played on the band's first three albums — 1985's "We Have Arrived", 1986's "Darkness Descends" and 1989's "Leave Scars" — before departing the group in 1989. He was part of DARK ANGEL's lineup when the band reformed in 2013, and had been playing with them, on and off, ever since.

Prior to his death, Durkin had been sitting out some of DARK ANGEL's gigs. He was replaced at the shows by Hoglan's wife Laura Christine, who has since joined DARK ANGEL as a permanent member.

DARK ANGEL released two albums with Don Doty on vocals — the aforementioned "We Have Arrived" and "Darkness Descends" — before he exited the group and was replaced by Ron Rinehart (after a brief stint with Jim Drabos in 1987). The band issued two more studio LPs — "Leave Scars" and "Time Does Not Heal" — before calling it quits in 1992.

Hoglan previously talked about DARK ANGEL's upcoming LP in May 2023 in an interview with Friday 13th. He said at the time: "Jim and I, we had gotten together a number of times to write some new material for DARK ANGEL. And we weren't able to get it down on tape too much. If DARK ANGELhas any new material, there's a song that he's got on there that is pretty darn DARK ANGEL-esque.

"In tribute to Jim, DARK ANGEL's new material will have a ton of his spirit all over it — his feel. Whether he actually wrote stuff on the new stuff or not, his spirit is very there. His imprint is felt throughout thrash metal, I feel. Even before I was in DARK ANGEL, I'd see Jim's influence on bands. Absolutely. So his legacy will live forevermore in the realm of extreme metal. His style will always be a part of DARK ANGEL, absolutely, big time."

Asked how the next DARK ANGEL album will compare to the band's previous efforts, Hoglan said: "Well, I can't really even comment on the fact that there might or might not be an album yet. But put it this way — if I were to have any new DARK ANGEL material, I would want it to be an extension of where the band is at now and where I'm at now. And I would probably approach the writing of it in a way as if DARK ANGEL never disappeared for a decade, two decades, three decades, or whatever it's been. It's just like we just kept doing what we do, and this would be where we're at right now. Which I would want to be putting out the most savage, heaviest material that DARK ANGEL could. And I'm no slouch with writing psychotic, heavy material. So I would be very, very excited with where DARK ANGEL's new material would be if that would be able to confirm."

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