|Review: Angel Dust - Border Of Reality|
|Border Of Reality|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 1998
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: July 23, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Border Of Reality
Angel Dust surprised everyone with this release, seeing as it is nothing like the stuff they were doing in the '80s, rather taking on a Prog/Power approach that wasn't all too common back in 1998. Comparisons could be made to a slightly thrashier Symphony X, with similar riff patterns and a similar guitar tone, but that's a bit of a stretch, since the material here is so diverse.
There is a charming sense of youthful creativity at work here, as Frank Bank and Dirk Assmuth obviously had a lot of pent-up ideas to let loose after reuniting their band. It almost becomes a detractor, as longer songs like "When I Die" or "Behind the Mirror" are very, very loosely constructed and filled with a lot of proggy noodling that the band would soon abandon on subsequent releases. But mostly these are great songs all the same, and this progressive slant only serves to make them even more colorful and entertaining.
The songwriting on the shorter tracks is much more focused and kinetic, with a lot of addictive, catchy, heavy riffs and a bombastic, energetic vocal performance from newly recruited screamer Dirk Thurisch, who is definitely one of the best things about this album and Angel Dust's later albums as a whole. He has a clean voice, but he also has a great ear for melody and he doesn't sound like he's got his balls caught in a vice. There are really no comparisons to be made here, as he doesn't sound like anyone else. His gruff, aggressive snarl can segue instantly into a smooth, melodic croon, and he has an awesome, unique style that you won't be able to get out of your head.
Standout tracks are a bit hard to name, as almost every song here is good. The track listing is well done, with fast and heavy songs like the stomping, hooky title track and the fiery "No More Faith" slowly building up a storm to the epic, sprawling "When I Die" and the real winner here, the melodic thunderstorm of "Where the Wind Blows." The Rainbow cover is out of place, though, and should have been stuck at the end of the album instead of in between the mesh of colossal Prog epics that the band surrounded it with. This album is not Angel Dust's best, but it is an extremely fun listen and a great display of the virtuosity of the new, superior Angel Dust. Recommended.
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