With the achievement of five respectable albums, ANGEL DUST have done more than just establish their name worldwide; they've triumphed in articulating yet another aspect of their sound with Of Human Bondage --the latest bounty of their multiple talents. Adorned with the photography of Gerald Axelrod, Of Human Bondage is a fiery and passionate testimonial overflowing with heft and attitude, thriving in its punctuation from Dirk Thurisch's street-wise vocals and Ritchie Wilkison's jaggedly aggressive guitars, revealing yet another facet of the unpredictability that thrives strongly in the cumulative bloodlines of these wildly creative musicians.
Deriving their band name from a song title on Venom's Welcome To Hell album, Germany's ANGEL DUST had humble beginnings as a school band in the midst of influence by the NWOBHM, Bay Area Thrash, and speed metal. Since their 1986 debut album, Into The Dark Past , they've witnessed the development of many metal genres, and are one of the few bands to successfully stage a return to the scene a full decade after their departure.
While Into The Dark Past showcased ANGEL DUST's speed/thrash side, 1988's To Dust You Will Decay was one of the first albums to lean more toward the progressive side of power metal. In spite of its incredible success, difficulties within the band attributed to a break-up in 1990. Determined to continue a musical career, bassist Frank Banx collaborated with musicians from Sodom and Scanner to form Crows and released The Dying Race in 1991, but the desire always existed to rebuild ANGEL DUST. Enter Dirk Thurisch.
Having previously worked with the band Pegasus, Thurisch came to the attention of ANGEL DUST founding members Banx and drummer Dirk Assmuth through a demo tape given to them by a fanzine writer in Germany. Invited to attend a band rehearsal, Thurisch convinced the band of his talents and secured the front man position with his incredible version of Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers." Complementing Banx and Assmuth were new members Bernd Aufermann on guitar and younger brother Steven Banx on keyboards. Recorded at Woodhouse Studios in Germany in 1998 with the assistance of Wolfgang Stach, ANGEL DUST produced Border Of Reality and finally broke their 10-year silence, leading to two European tours in 1998 with Overkill and Nevermore and later Jag Panzer, crowning their comeback with performances at Wacken Open Air and Rock Hard festivals that same year.
Gaining incredible creative momentum with their new line-up, ANGEL DUST lost no time in working on their next endeavor, Bleed , an album that finally introduced the band to North American audiences in 1999 to unexpected high acclaim. Produced by Siggi Bemm (Tiamat, The Gathering, Samael) and ANGEL DUST at Woodhouse Studios in Germany, Hit Parader Magazine described their sound as "lush, powerful and surprisingly accessible." Metal Maniacs fervently asserted that "all the necessary elements come together beautifully on Bleed , with each track carrying its own stamp of individuality and remarkability. In short, Bleed nears perfection. This album shouldn't be considered a comeback. Rather, this is a band that's taken a long, long time to gel, establishing Thurisch as a dark horse vocalist of massive capability and marking a massive achievement as one of the best records of 1999."
Graced with album artwork by famed photographer Stefan Wibbeke, the release of the concept album Enlighten The Darkness in 2000 (also produced by Siggi Bemm) heralded ANGEL DUST as a band to watch in progressive and power metal genres and recognized by Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles as having a "mighty, muscular and compelling sound too gritty and substantive" to be placed into only one category. An excellent synthesis of all their previous work, it merged thrashy and melodic musical elements with the lyrical story of a World War II veteran pondering the meaning of man's repeating cycle of abhorrent brutality and how it impacts everyday people. In reality, it reflected bassist Frank Banx's personal historical interests in German history, as his great-grandfather was a founder and active member in the resistance group Esperanzo during World War II against the Nazis, smuggling people of the Jewish faith out of Berlin, Germany into Amsterdam.
While touring for Enlighten The Darkness in Europe with Lefay, Steel Prophet and StormHammer, the band faced what was probably the most difficult chapter in their reunited activity: drummer Assmuth decided to take some time off from the band while guitarist Aufermann opted to leave due to conflicting opinions with the rest of the group about the musical and stylistic future of ANGEL DUST. With their first North American tour looming close, the band chose drummer Michael Sticken to replace Assmuth and invited longtime friend Ritchie Wilkison (touring guitarist for Demons & Wizards) to complete their ensemble for the four-week spring tour with Nevermore, Opeth and God Forbid. The band generated such a positive response that Wilkison was officially asked to join the band and they were later invited to perform at the Prog Power 2.0 Festival in Atlanta in November, 2001 where-true to their abilities--they captivated all attendees with the imported brand of fire and aggression they exude onstage.
Following the return of their original drummer Dirk Assmuth, ANGEL DUST entered their favored Woodhouse Studio in Hagen with long-term producer Siggi Bemm to record nine new songs (including their version of Seal's "Killer"), which would become the sixth album of their career, Of Human Bondage . Already a heavier version of Dream Theater and Savatage touched by the epic influence of Queensrÿche, Wilkison's full integration into the band's songwriting process allowed him to flex his influence in developing of a new strain of aggressive power metal that prioritizes uncompromising melody, devastating rhythms, and an overall intelligent songcraft that proves ANGEL DUST's musicianship and songwriting talent is undeniably timeless. All of these qualities are aptly demonstrated in the tracks "Unreal Soul," "Forever," and "Freedom Awaits."
Of Human Bondage mesmerizes you to trap you, whispers hints of what's coming, coerces you with its delivery, and ultimately leaves you impressed and believing in the power of selfless surrender.
Angel Dust will start the songwriting, as planed, for the new album in January 2004, however after bass player Frank Banx left the band in November 2003, with a new line-up.