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Angel Nation – Antares Award winner

Angel Nation
by Thomas Kumke at 11 April 2022, 11:46 AM

ANGEL NATION has a two-part history in any way. Formed by Finnish vocalist Elina Siirala (LEAVES’ EYES) in 2011, the band worked under the Finnish name ENKELINATION before they switched to the English equivalent ANGEL NATION. At this time, the band were based in London, UK. As Elina Siirala moved to Germany (now Regensburg), the band headquarter moved alongside with her. The modern symphonic Metal band release now their third full-length album and it comes with some support. The busy Jonas Weingarten (PYRAMAZE, CATALYST CRIME) did the ballad orchestration. The album was produced by ANGEL NATION. The mixing and mastering was done by Elina’s bandmate Alex Krull (ATROCITY, LEAVES’ EYES) at his Mastersound Studio in Germany. The album has a length of about 40 minutes. It was released via Swedish label Inner Wound Recordings, which is specialized in Heavy, Power, and Progressive Metal.

ANGEL NATION are the band where Elina Siirala started her career with. While still being active under their Finnish name, the first full-length album was released in 2014. Shortly before they followed-up with a second album, the career path of Elina did change with the call from LEAVES’ EYES. Having had other priorities by releasing two albums and being on various tours with LEAVES’ EYES, ANGEL NATION used the additional time during the pandemic to write and record “Antares”.

The album starts with “Seraph” and it is a fast opening with sharp guitar riffing supported by the keyboards in the background. “Seraph” is a strong opener and it has most of the attributes of a modern symphonic Metal song: the melodies, the catchiness, easy-to-listen song textures, a contributing lead guitar solo, and the overarching vocals of Elina Siirala, who keep the song excellently together. “Seraph” has been released as official video and the YouTube link is given below. “We Are Fire” continues with the fast and heavy sound. The guitar riffing dominates and the drumming drive the track forward. “We Are Fire” shows an important element of the music of ANGEL NATION: the sound is more driven towards modern Metal than towards symphonic Metal. Classical symphonic elements like orchestral arrangements and bombastic sound are missing, and not even the vocals have an operatic emphasis, something that is common in symphonic Metal.

End Of Innocence” slows the rhythm down towards mid-tempo after a ballad-esque start with the keyboards and Elina’s voice. After transitioning into a nice head-banging rhythm, “End Of Innocence” becomes another powerful track with heavy riffs and an excellent lead guitar solo. A few notes on Elina Siirala’s vocals, since a comparison to LEAVES’ EYES is inevitably. Elina’s voice for ANGEL NATION is more rock-oriented and it has no operatic features compared to LEAVES’ EYES. It fits perfectly to the ANGEL NATION sound. There are occasional similarities as in “Life Is A War” and in “Crucify Me”. Particularly, the vocals in “Crucify Me” show features of the unique and outstanding voice that Elina delivers for LEAVES’ EYES. “Crucify Me” is a very strong song with powerful, but catchy riffing and melodies at mid-tempo, and it has plenty of IRON MAIDEN vibes, in particular the galloping riffing at times.

While many songs on the album maintain one and the same tempo within the track, “Face To Face With The Merciless” adds more variation and switches between mid-tempo and up-tempo parts, where the up-tempo dominates the chorus sections. “Where’s The Time” is another track which is driven by the heavy guitar riffing, but with a more notable presence of the background keyboards. George Stergiou deserves a mentioning for his excellent guitar contributions throughout, not only in this song. His riffing is spot on and the lead guitar solos are always very comprehensive and contributing.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind” is another fast and heavy track. It comes with a mid-tempo break that is mainly keyboard driven. “Way Back Home” is the ballad of the album and the orchestra with the strings, the piano, and the flutes support the beautiful voice of Elina Siirala. Here the vocals take center stage and rightly so: Elina performs at her very best with a more symphonic emphasis. The longer the song goes on, the more epic the melodies become. “Way Back Home” is one of the album highlights, because of the vocal contribution and also of Jonas Weingarten’s orchestral arrangements that intensify the uniqueness of the vocals. The album finishes with another guitar driven mid-tempo track. “Where The Future Lies” is a good representation of the music on “Antares”, however, I felt that going out with a bang, meaning with “Way Back Home”, might have been the better choice.

Antares” is a very good album. It is a modern Metal album with symphonic elements. The album is powerful, heavy, and very dynamic. The guitars are the leading instruments in terms of both, riffing and solos. The vocals are another highlight of “Antares” and it shows the versatility of Elina Siirala as a vocalist. The sound of “Antares” might lack diversity at times, but it is unique and it shows the own character of ANGEL NATION as a band. The album is very well produced. ANGEL NATION deliver something that shows that the band is ready to grow and go bigger. Fans of modern and symphonic Metal will surely dig the album and can look forward to exciting live shows of ANGEL NATION near future.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Seraph
2. We Are Fire
3. End Of Innocence
4. Life Is A War
5. Crucify Me
6. Face To Face With The Merciless
7. Where’s The Time
8. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
9. Way Back Home
10. Where The Future Lies
Elina Siirala – Vocals, Keyboards
George Stergiou – Guitars
Lucas Williamson – Drums
Julia B. Cadau – Bass
Record Label: Inner Wound Recordings


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Edited 02 December 2022

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