Thursday, September 25, 2014

ANGELS OR KINGS: ”Kings Of Nowhere”

Rating: RRRR

Label: AOR Heaven 2014
Review by Kimmo Toivonen

AOK. That’s a name I remember from the pages of Kerrang!, the UK rock magazine I studied religiously during my teenage years. I always thought that it was a bit stupid name for a band, but what was written about them raised my curiosity. If I remember correctly, they were hailed as one of the great white hopes of British AOR, a band that surely would be signed sooner rather than later. Well, the band did get the elusive recording contract, but only later. Much later. 25 years later!

Yep, the AOK band name has been changed to a much cooler sounding Angels Or Kings, a new superb vocalist Baz Jackson has been recruited and the band has finally recorded their first album. Not only that, they recently won themselves one of the best gigs any AOR band could ask for - the opening slot of the last ever Firefest! Not too bad.

If a band is chosen to open Firefest by the most dedicated AOR fans on the planet, it’s simply not possible that the band in question would suck. The Firefest fans know their AOR, and let me tell you, Angels Or Kings can proudly stand alongside the bigger names in the bill. They are that good.

”Kings Of Nowhere” sounds just like it could be a forgotten AOR jewel from 1989, with absolutely no ”modern” sounds, loops or whatnot. And I’m talking about a real forgotten jewel, not some polished demos… no, this album sounds like it could have been produced by Neil Kernon during his most profilic ”AOR producer” years. Lush harmonies, swirling keyboards and everything else you could ask for. What’s more, the band has the songs to match the production. There’s the FM’esque duo of ”Any Other Girl” and ”Same Star”, Shy-meets-Valentine-like ”A Harder Place”, ”Someone To Save Me” which reminds me a bit of Alias with a British edge… my favorite of them all is probably ”If Her Tears Would Talk” with its’ fantastic keyboard riff and superb chorus. I could go on, but maybe it’s enough to say that you won’t find a really weak song among the 12 tracks. If there’s something missing on this album, I’d say that the band hasn’t written a truly great ballad yet. The two slower songs here, ”Real Life” and ”A Night Like This” aren’t too bad but to be honest, they’re the ones I’m most likely to skip.

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