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AngelragE was a progressive metalcore band from Los Angeles, California. Led by visionary guitarist Garland Triest, the group featured in its final incarnation lead vocalists Nancy Carpenter and Shaun Pilon, bassist Michael Courtois, and drummer Dean Guldswog. Elements of the band's sound included thundering double bass drums and brutal guitar riffs set against soaring choirs and lush orchestration with innovative effects and elaborate soundscapes. The songs varied greatly in style yet shared an intensity that became the band's trademark. The music of AngelragE pulled from both modern and classic influences in the heavy metal and progressive rock genres, utilizing other modern influences as well as classical influences such as Bach, Beethoven, and DeBussy. A review in LA's Rock City News described AngelragE's music "at once so brutal and beautiful it takes your breath away!”
Guitarist Garland Triest began writing and recording demos for what was to be AngelragE's debut CD, Fight the Devil, in 1995 in Iron Mountain, Michigan, where he was employed as a music teacher and playing shows with local musicians including drummer Dean Guldswog, who would become AngelragE's drummer in 2021.
Battling severe pain, internal damage, and depression, the guitarist began his long and grueling rehabilitation. The recordings sat collecting dust until August of 2002 when he quietly put 5 of the tracks on the then-thriving MP3.com, which, after Napster was shut down, had become the go-to destination for people looking for new music. Within weeks, the title track (Fight The Devil) came out of nowhere and hit #1 on the MP3.com International Christian Metal Charts, with the each of the other 4 tracks occupying a spot on the top 5 above such venerable heavyweights as Bride, King's X, and Michael Sweet (Stryper). Fight the Devil was downloaded from the band's mp3.com site over 15,000 times before MP3.com was sold to CNET in December, 2003.
Triest began writing songs for AngelragE's full length debut and began rehearsing with drummer Matt Rutherford, later adding vocalist Steve Braun and bassist Jonah Lewis. Under the names of the archangels Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel, this lineup rehearsed for several months while Triest and Rutherford developed songs for the Ω (Omega) album and played a single showcase performance together before going their separate ways in 2005. Despite never having actually recorded together during this brief time, the original lineup remains beloved by fans fascinated by the mystique around The Archangels of Metal.
Refusing to replace his bandmates, Triest recorded the album alone and released Ω (Omega) October 10, 2009. Both the track list and cover art were heavily influenced by online polls on social media. A second version ("AngelragE") was released May 14, 2010, featuring the original track listing and cover art. Both albums generated considerable controversy over the violent lyrics and perceived double entendres in both the music and accompanying artwork. A portion of the proceeds of Ω (Omega) went to Pastor Bob Beeman's Bridge Bunch, a group dedicated to feeding and clothing the homeless. Interest in the CD sparked a 2010 reunion of the original lineup, which ultimately failed to materialize.
After moving to Los Angeles in the spring of 2000, Triest quickly made connections in the entertainment industry. In addition to having the honor and privilege of playing guitar with 2 of his favorite bands, deadbyday and Lunatics On Parole, he did graphic art and designed websites for many acts in L.A. and elsewhere including the aforementioned groups as well as Hells Children, D℞ Pillb⌽X, Aslan, and Domination 101, with whom he expanded his role to include managing and booking. During this time, Gar was a Night Manager at Sound Arena Studios in North Hollywood, Van Nuys, and Reseda, California locations. The guitarist also turned up regularly at award shows with his wife Karen, who, in 2004, took home both an Emmy and a Golden Reel Award for her contributions to the HBO film And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself starring Antonio Banderras.
On July 25, 2017, 20 years after the car accident that nearly ended his career, Triest released On Broken Wings, the song he had written for the ill fated reunion of the original lineup, accompanied by an apocalyptic music video. The cover art featured the CD cover of AngelragE's Fight the Devil in flames with the tagline, "Here's to the past."
13 years after the original lineup last played together onstage, Triest and Rutherford assembled a new lineup with vocalists Nancy Carpenter and Shaun Pilon and bassist Michael Courtois. Triest wrote and recorded demos for 12 new songs and the band did several behind the scenes videos previewing several tracks including Paragon Meadows, Collide, Siren, and Moonspell. The project, an ambitious multimedia venture entitled Heresy, would be released a song at a time, accompanied by behind the scenes video and audio. Unfortunately, Rutherford, embroiled in an acrimonious divorce and custody battle for his 2 children, was unable to participate in recording and encouraged Triest to bring in another drummer for the sessions, with the door open for his future involvement. Triest brought in his old friend and bandmate Dean Guldswog, with whom he had a long and successful history or working together since the 1980s. Sadly, 2020 brought a number of shocking developments, including the murder of Triest's niece Amanda, the abrupt departure of vocalist Nancy Carpenter, the death of Matt Rutherford at only 42 years old, and the dystopian horror and existential dread of the pandemic lockdown with the sweeping changes it brought to all of our lives. The guitarist abandoned his social media, closing down the band's websites and pulling both the Ω (Omega) and AngelragE albums from stores, remaining out of the public eye until his death.
While many fans assumed that AngelragE was a Christian metal band, behind the scenes, their wild antics were largely hidden from the press. For his part, Triest made no secret of - nor apologies for - his polyamorous, party-all-the-time lifestyle, infamously deadpanning directly into the camera during a 2003 live TV interview on The Hollywood and Devine show, "I'm Gar, and it's all about the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll."
In addition to music, Triest also pursued a career in voice acting, being featured in the films As Above, So Below (2014), Krampus (2015), No Escape (2015), Ghostbusters - Answer the Call (2016), Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017), Bakugan: Battle Force (2019), and Paboos (2019) as well as The CW Television Network's Nancy Drew series in The Scourge of the Forgotten Rune (2021).
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