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Angel Blake - s/t

If you're familiar with the band The Crown, you know to expect killer extreme metal.  So with the breakup of The Crown, Marko Tervonen, has now decided to start his own new band, Angel Blake.  However, instead of following the death/thrash sound of his former band, he has decided to join forces with vocalist, Tony Jelencovich (ex-Transport League), and pursue a much more accessible direction.  And while the vocals are more understandable here, don't expect this to be a wimpy album by any means.  

As I listen to this album, I can't hide the excitement of how much I love it!!  This is a fantastic disc that grabs you on first listen and continues to get better each and every time you hear it.  The huge and powerful riffs, the thunderous drumming, the addictive, passionate, and catchy vocals, the memorable songs, the stellar musicianship...you name it.  There ain't much about this CD that I don't enjoy.    

So what does it really sound like?  Gosh, I hear influences from all over the place.  And really...while this album is nothing groundbreaking, it's put together in such a way that even though you hear other bands, you also hear it mixed like no one else I've heard.  Songs like "The Forsaken" bring to mind the music and vocals of Sentenced.  Songs like "Self-Terminate" bring to mind the groove of the Galactic Cowboys mixed with the vocal style of Danzig.  Songs like "Solitude, My Friend" bring to mind the plodding and deliberate style of a band like Stavesacre...both musically and vocally.  Then the monstrous song "Thousand Storms" mixes the near brutality of death metal with those Stavesacre-styled vocals.  They also do a cool cover of the Stones' song "Paint it Black."  As good as the cover is, I would've almost rather had another original song though, cause this stuff is just so tasty.  And despite all the different influences this band seems to take, it always seems to mesh well and results in songs that stick out.  Songs that stay with you long after putting the disc back in its case.  That's what good metal is supposed to do!

As for the lyrics on this disc, they are a FAR cry from The Crown.  They are actually very well-written though and soul-searching for lack of a better term.  Check out some of these lines from a few of the songs:

"Retaliate": Darkened ways that lies ahead.  They always seem to lead away.  Lead away from the light of truth.  No time to waste.  No time to waste.  Retaliate!  How does it feel to be alive?

"Self-Terminate": The mirror on the wall reflects something I was told was dead.  Why are you here?  Don't let it grow, don't let its grip take hold...I cannot escape from here.  I've paid a lifetime.  I've served a lifetime in this hell.  I'm trying to become alive, by killing you.  Self terminate!  I'm hoping to restore my life, by killing you.  Self terminate!

Pretty good stuff really, and the majority of the songs follow in the same vein.

My final thoughts?  This is a great debut by a band that Metal Blade should be proud to have on their roster.  Here's hoping this band sticks around.

Rating: 95/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Metal Blade

Total Songs: 10

Total Time: 44:36

Tracklisting: 1. The Force, 2. Retaliate, 3. Lycanthrope, 4. Self-Terminate, 5. Solitude, My Friend, 6. Autumnal, 7. The Forsaken, 8. Thousand Storms, 9. Paint it Black, 10. ...Til the End.

Best Songs: Tracks 2, 4, 7, 8, & 10.

Band Lineup: Marko Tervonen - All instruments, Tony Jelencovich - Vocals.

Band Website: http://www.angelblake.com