merging from the original Bay Area thrash scene in 1981, Dark Angel, featuring the original line-up of Don Doty (vocals), Jim Durkin (guitar), Eric Meyer (guitar), Ron Yahn (bass) and Jack Schwartz (drums) and under the original name Shellshock in Downey, California were forced to change their name to Dark Angel in 1983 because of another band using the name.
Dark Angel would then release We Have Arrived (1984) on the 'Axe Killer' label. The next album, Darkness Descends (1986) would become another thrash classic and was the first album feature new drummer Gene Hoglan. Rob Yahn was replaced with Mike Gonzalez by the time the album was released, but Gonzalez was given credit on the album sleeve. Vocalist Don Doty left shortly after the album's release; his replacement being Ron Rinehart, who would stay with the band until their breakup in 1992 and rejoin for their subsequent reunions.
Leave Scars (1989) would be the last to feature Jim Durkin, who left before the supporting tour to be replaced by former Viking guitarist Brett Eriksen, leaving the band with no remaining original members. The album received positive reviews from critics, and was rewarded by giving the group's only Billboard 200 chart position; peaking at 159. Live Scars, their only live album, would follow in 1990.
Time Does Not Heal (1991) showed increasingly progressive song structures and lyrical subject matters, but after the supporting tour the group split in 1992 to persue other career paths. The compilation album, Decade of Chaos: The Best of Dark Angel (1992), would be the epitaph.
Hoglan moved on to work with Death, recorded one album with the thrash metal band Testament, and several albums with Canadian act Strapping Young Lad. Rinehart formed the band Oil in 1997 after converting to Christianity.
Dark Angel reformed in 2002 with a new lineup featuring Ron Rinehart on vocals, Eric Meyer on guitar, Danyael Williams on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums. During this reunion, they performed Metallica's Creeping Death that ultimately appeared on the 2004 Metallica tribute album Metallic Attack: Metallica - The Ultimate Tribute. The reunion, however, was short lived for Rinehart had begun suffering health problems, and an accident that year, which caused a severe spinal injury that forced him to stop performing.
In 2013, Dark Angel (with Jim Durkin and Ron Rinehart) had reunited with original vocalist Don Doty; drummer Gene Hoglan, guitarists Eric Meyer and guest Justin Zych, along with bassist Mike Gonzalez, for what was intended to be a limited time. Well, the "limited time" has been a long time and without Zych they remain active as a touring group.