|Review: Angel Blake - The Descended|
Label: Dynamic Arts Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 13, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
The Descended is really a poster child for the expression "never judge a book by its cover." When I saw this, I was expecting some crappy female-fronted barely metal or worse kind of album, so I was quite surprised the first time I played this to hear some kick ass Heavy Metal, with some more or less discreet dark and gothic overtones. The band comprises, among others, a couple of members of The Crown, but the music here isn't in the Death/Thrash style at all, so that's where any comparisons end.
The album is a bit uneven, kicking off with some very energetic, powerful and upbeat-yet-dark compositions, with some slower songs/passages scattered here and there. The first half is really good, consistent yet varied, but it's as if they ran out of ideas in the second half, and even though the songs aren't bad per se, they feel a bit off and even a bit uninteresting at times — it makes the album feel like it's 15-20 longer than it actually is. In other words, the album starts off really strong but ends in b-sides. That's too bad, because if they had kept up the pace for the whole duration, this album could probably have ended up on a couple of yearly "top" lists - not necessarily top 10, but close enough to get some recognition.
The music itself is darkened Heavy Metal, surprisingly upbeat, but often more melancholic when it starts flirting with gothic territory. It's pretty straightforward and catchy material all over, aided by some very catchy, almost pop-ish at times, vocal work - all clean vocals, with vocal melodies that are sing-along inducing, and some very catchy choruses. The first 3-4 songs are definitely the best here, that's where Angel Blake seem to have been at their best, while the rest of the songs don't quite measure up, but are still mostly enjoyable. But since all the best songs are at the beginning, by the second half the album feels like it's dragging its feet. The Descended may not be perfect, but there's enough good stuff on it to warrant a few listens - and at least half of the songs here are definite keepers. Hopefully the band's next album will be more consistent.
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