Thursday, February 14, 2013

RAGE OF ANGELS: "Dreamworld"

Rating: RRR
Label: Escape Music 2013
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

Not to be confused with the late eighties' Christian Metal band, this Rage Of Angels is a project/band put together by ex-TEN keyboard player Ged Rylands. It's an "all-star" effort with several lead vocalists and lead guitarists, with the "main band" being Rylands on keys and guitar, Pera Johanssen on drums, Michael Karlsson on bass and Neil Fraser from Ten on guitar.

The album has already recieved some rave reviews, but I'm afraid mine isn't going to be one of those. The album does have its' moments and the performances are outstanding, but some of the songs aren't too exciting.

The album starts with the heavy, yet melodic title track with Matti Alfonzetti on vocals. This is probably the most Ten-like track on the album, connecting Rylands' past with the present. Harry Hess takes over the microphone on "See You Walking By", which much lighter in its' approach, a pretty standard AOR track, albeit quite nice. "Through It All" is somewhere between the previous two when it comes to the heaviness. It's my favourite track of the album, featuring fine vocals from Robert Hart (ex-Bad Company) and a strong chorus. The song actually reminds me of Yngwie Malmsteen's finest era, when his songs weren't just excuses for widdling.

Danny Vaughn of Tyketto sings "Over And Over", which is again very much in the AOR mould. It's another good song, although the chorus doesn't elevate the song to the next level as I hoped it would. The harmony vocals of the chorus are pretty funny, are they singing "Doo-Wop, Doo-Wop" there? I guess not. Anyway, so far, so good, the first four tracks get a thumbs up, but then things start to fall apart a little.

Primal Fear vocalist Ralph Scheepers adds a somewhat sinister edge to "Falling", which is a heavier melodic rock track. With a good chorus this song might have worked, but the one it has is a bit of a letdown. The big ballad "The Beating Of Your Heart" is dramatic and features a good vocal from newcomer David Reed Watson. Despite all the pathos it carries, it sounds kind of bleak, almost depressive.

"Spinnin' Wheel" is basically a simple pub rock track, rescued by Danny Vaughn's great vocals and fine, melodic chorus that reminds me of Boston and Magnum. Then it's time for the album's instrumental epic "Requiem For The Forgotten Soldier". It's a heavy track, almost Sabbath-like in fact, with Vinny Burns (Ten, Dare), Ralph Santolla (Millenium, Iced Earth), Xander Demos and Martin Kronlund shredding on top of it all. One for the guitar freaks. "We Live, We Breathe, We Die" is another big ballad, and while it isn't quite as bleak and dark as "The Beating Of Your Heart", it doesn't really appeal to me either.

The first half of the album was good, at times great, but the second half didn't really do it for me, apart from one rather fine chorus. That's three R's then.

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