Band: Angel 7
Album: The Last Revolution
I’m not sure where to begin with this one. Angel 7 are an interesting band because whilst they are very clearly a metal band, I don’t really know where on the spectrum to place them. And this isn’t some statement of insane originality on their part or some ground-breaking sound or anything. It’s just that it’s really tough to pin them down. I would say first and foremost that they are a power metal band. They have the heavy double kick drums, fast and driving riffs, epic solos, and on overall punch that would land them squarely side-by-side with any European power metal band.
Simple, right? Well, no. Because their singer does harsh growling vocals, a lot like you would hear from a folk metal band. But this isn’t folk metal. And before you say melodic death metal, that doesn’t work either. Angel 7 have none of that vibe. And even though I myself have often described melodeath as power metal with harsh vocals, it feels totally wrong to classify these guys as melodeath. The metal archives lists them as “Death/Power/Thrash metal” and whilst none of those are necessarily wrong, none of them are completely right either. So whether I am right or wrong, I am just going to say that this band is power metal and move on.
Angel 7 have been around since 2001 and have churned out five full length albums of their bombastic version of power metal. And in spite of having English track titles on their latest release, they still sing all their songs in their native tongue of Ukrainian. Which, given the style of vocals, probably doesn’t make a lot of difference. But I will say that insofar as the Slavic languages are more guttural, Ukrainian is probably at least a better choice than English.
Whilst listening to this album, it is difficult to find anything to hold onto for the ride. And sometimes that sort of problem is the result of having overly generic material, and other times it is because it’s difficult to process all the things going on. In this case, believe it or not, I think it’s both.
I don’t think that you’re going to find much on hear that you wouldn’t find in a lot of other power metal albums with the exception of the unique vocals. You have a lot of galloping riffs played on the lower registers with plenty of crunch to go around along with fills and solos on the higher registers. Though they have their moments at times, the riffs and fills are probably the most generic of the musical phrases here. Though to their credit, one thing I have to say about the riffs is that they are actually riffs, and not just power chords played in a specific succession like you hear in a lot of European power metal. I also found that some of the best riffs were hidden deep in the mix when they could have been more powerfully executed at the forefront. The title track is an excellent example of this; the downtuned chugs end up drowning out some quality riffs, much to the detriment of the final piece.
However, one thing that does consistently stand out on this album is the soloing. The guitarist makes use of very inventive note selection, which means that your standard ultra-fast scaly solos are conspicuously absent here. Instead of the boring up-and-down-the-fretboard scales common to most power metal solos, you have here a lot of odd-interval jumps and some pretty creative timing going on here. And though some are more tastefully executed than others, I certainly don’t get the proggy wankfest vibe from them at all; they appear to be solid attempts at soloing well outside the typical framework and it’s commendable that they are doing something different even if it isn’t always executed perfectly, though more often than not, it’s done quite well.
In the end, I think Angel 7 do have something unique to offer that is unique, and you would really just have to check them out for yourself to hear what I’m talking about. They have a nice blend of melody and heaviness, a solid and original approach to their guitarwork, and an overall sound that – whilst not being my preferred style – is still nevertheless compelling and refreshing in its own right.
Check ’em out here: http://7angel.bandcamp.com/album/last-revolution