RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Angel – Angel, Helluva Band & On Earth As It Is In Heaven
Rock Candy Records
www.rockcandyrecords.com

Rating:
Angel:                                           B
Helluva Band:                             B+
On Earth as it is in Heaven:    C

Angel were a pomp rock band signed by Kiss’s label, Casablanca, and were touted to become a huge stadium act.  They had the attitude, the musicianship and the promotion to do just that, but for whatever reason, Angel never soared, instead they became one of the biggest cult bands of their era.

Rock Candy Records has released the band’s first three albums, each as ‘collector’s editions’ and each with extensive liner notes including new interviews with the band.  They have done a great job of resurrecting Angel and, hopefully, many more will discover these pomp rock heroes. 

The band included guitarist Punky Meadows, vocalist Frank Dimino and keyboard wizard Gregg Giuffria.

Angel
Released in 1975, the self-titled debut featured the band proving their progressive rock chops.  Opening track, “Tower” is as close to a true classic as they ever had.  This is a grandiose, over the top, prog-pomp powerhouse.  The rest of the album attempts to follow suit but does not live up to “Tower.”  That said, there are still plenty of great musical moments as “On and On” and “Rock & Rollers” sound best when cranked all the way up.

Helluva Band
This is THE Angel album to own.  The band was still plenty pompy and proggy, yet the addition of a hard rock sound brought out the promise that everyone knew they had. 

Gregg Giuffria stepped up big time on this release, bringing his full force keyboards into the world of heavy rock. 

Opening track “Feelin’ Right” kicks off the album in the right direction but “The Fortune” shows the musical prowess of the band.  “Feelings” and “Mirrors” continue the journey making this a must-own album for fans of this style of music.

On Earth as it is in Heaven
After Angels second album failed to make them rock stars they returned to the studio with a new direction in mind.  On Earth as it is in Heaven shows the band trying hard to become pop hit makers.  The result is not bad, but it is nowhere near as good as the promise they showed on their first two efforts.  The highlights include “Can You Feel It,” “Cast the First Stone” and “White Lightening.”  These songs were the best of the new batch and retained much of what the band were going for in the past.  The rest of the tunes, however, seem a bit forced and the pop attitude does not come off as genuine. 

This one is worth the purchase price for “Cast the First Stone” and “White Lightening” alone, but the image change relegates the overall album to an average rating. 

By Jeb Wright

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