Formed in 1982 in Los Angeles, Dark Angel was a Slayer-influenced band exercising thrash metal first at rehearsal and then on a Metal Massacre sampler.
Don Doty and Rob Yahn initially formed the act. The band's formation came out of the cover bands of various members who incidentally attended the same high school as most Metallica members.
After a debut on Azra Records of Los Angeles, the band moved on to Combat Records and released several ever-heavier albums with Time Does Not Heal even hitting the Billboard charts. Given the quality and heaviness of this album that was quite a feat. Durkin had earlier left the band due to family issues. He had also traded barbs with writer Borivoj Krgin in Metal Forces over a bad review. An EP in 1990 was released called Live Scars. Jim Drabos had been a live replacement for Doty. Doty left partly due to drug issues. Brett Eriksen left to attend college. Time Does Not Heal was supported by a European tour, but the label refused to give the band a US tour support. This was the beginning of the end. A new album was almost completed, but never recorded.
Dark Angel and Death often traded accusations and vitriol in the ‘80s and early ‘90s and so it was a surprise to see Hoglan, who was once a Vikings' football prospect, later join Death. There have been reports of a reformation over the years yet nothing has transpired. The year 2001 saw the re-release of We Have Arrived with its original cover through Dark Realm Records.
Following a number of album re-releases by Century Media there was an attempt by Eric Meyer to regroup and play a tour, but with members not being available (Yahn was in the US army, etc.) things fell apart. Still, the band unexpectedly reformed in 2002. While at first the drummer of Dreams Of Damnation Charlie Silva was named as a member, Gene Hoglan is eventually named as the line-up's drummer. A tour was announced, but soon rescinded. Jim Durkin was soon out of Dark Angel though. His erstwhile replacement, Strapping Young Lad, former Amoros and Caustic Thought guitarist Jed Simon, also decided against joining the band. Durkin supposedly was kicked out of the fold because of scheduling conflicts and his inability to commit to touring. The band was announced as playing Wacken Open Air in the summer of 2003. All live activity was postponed, however, following a spinal injury suffered by Reinhart. The gang entered Dreamcatcher Studio in Lake Balboa, California in the tail end of 2003 to begin recording a new album. The band was still looking for a recording contract. With nothing new transpiring Jim Durkin joined a reformed Ruthless in 2008.
As of 2013, Dark Angel was working on reforming for live shows in 2014, including the Keep It True XVII festival on April 25 and 26, 2014 at in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany. The band was to be singer Don Doty, guitarists Eric Meyer and Justin Zych, bassist Mike Gonzalez and drummer Gene Hoglan. While it was initially announced that the plans are definite, Doty and Hoglan later qualified the statement. In the meantime, guitarist Jim Durkin has chimed in that only Ron Rinehart would be the singer of a reunion. Dark Angel’s appearance at 2014’s Keep It True Festival was cancelled after confusion and contradiction amidst the reforming band’s ranks as to who is a member and who is not. A new project called Eliminate featured singer Don Doty (ex-Dark Angel), guitarists Scott Owen (ex-Hirax) and Henry Elizondo (Devastation), bassist John Signorelli (Subversion) and drummer Sasha Horn (Forbidden). Most recently, Doty had hoped to be in a Dark Angel reunion. The band was recording a demo. Dark Angel was booked for 2014’s edition of the Sweden Rock Festival, taking place June 4th to 7th, 2014 in Sölvesborg, Sweden. Ron Rinehart was on vocals and Michael Gonzalez was on bass. The reformed Dark Angel performed live on Saturday, April 26th 2014 at The Metal Fest in Santiago, Chile. Ron Rinehart was on vocals. The reformed Dark Angel performed on June 5th 2014 at the Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg, Sweden.
To commemorate its 35th anniversary since founding and the 30th anniversary of its Darkness Descends album, Dark Angel would play the album in its entirety on October 8th 2016 at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver.