Dark Angel Guitarist Jim Durkin Dead at 58

The metal musician founded the thrash band in 1981 and was still an active member at the time of his passing

Dark Angel's Jim Durkin dies at 58
Dark Angel’s Jim Durkin, via Facebook

    Jim Durkin, the founding guitarist of thrash metal band Dark Angel, has died at the age of 58. The sad news was shared by his wife Annie on Facebook.

    “With a broken and heavy heart, I want to share that the love of my life, my best friend and husband, Jimmy, passed away Wednesday morning,” wrote Annie. “He was not alone as I was with him along with a few close friends until the end. He will be truly missed and no one can ever replace the love I have for him. May he rest in peace. Ever Thine, Ever Mine, Ever Ours … My Immortal Beloved. I will see you again.”

    The band also confirmed Durkin’s passing, writing, “We in the Dark Angel family are deeply saddened and crushed today with the news of our brother and founder Jimmy Durkin passing away Wednesday morning. We would like to thank his fans for their continuous loyalty and support. We will come out with a full statement very soon. We ask that you please respect the family’s privacy while we mourn the loss of this great man.”


    Dark Angel originally formed in 1981 in Downey, California, under the name Shellshock before changing their name in 1983. While they never achieved the success of fellow California thrash bands like Metallica and Slayer, Dark Angel are considered highly influential, especially on the death metal scene.

    Durkin was an active member of Dark Angel at the time of his passing, and was the band’s only remaining original member. The rest of the band is made up of longtime members Eric Meyer (guitar), Gene Hoglan (drums), Mike Gonzalez (bass) and Ron Rinehart (vocals). Hoglan is also well known for his work in Testament and Dethklok.

    After initially breaking up in 1992, Dark Angel reunited for a few years from 2002 to 2005, before re-forming in 2013 and remaining active ever since. The band has released four studio albums, all between 1985 and 1991, with 1986’s Darkness Descends regarded as an all-time thrash classic. Last year, Hoglan said that Dark Angel were working on a new album for a potential 2023 release.


    Dark Angel have a number of shows lined up for 2023, including an appearance at the Milwaukee Metal Fest in May, as well as gigs in Los Angeles and New York City. It is unclear whether the dates will go on as planned.

    Our condolences go out to Jim Durkin’s family, friends, and bandmates during this difficult time. Revisit his work with Dark Angel in the performance clips below.