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Angel Of Mercy - The Avatar (Reissue)

Angel Of Mercy
The Avatar
by Dave Nowels at 29 May 2018, 2:51 PM

This my first review for Metal Temple and I feel as if I’ve been handed the Lost Ark Of The Covenant, and stand back, because when you hear this album, like the Lost Ark, it’s certain to melt some faces. Shadow Kingdom Records has done the Metal community a great service in finally giving an official release to ANGEL OF MERCY’S long lost lone album “The Avatar”. ANGEL OF MERCY was formed around 1980 by vocalist, guitarist David St. James. The band he formed, which included Kaign Sevenson on bass and vocals, and Deniz Derya Gallegos on drums, keys and vocals recorded “The Avatar” and used it as a demo to shop for a major label deal in the late 1980’s. That record deal never came.  The late 1980’s were a tumultuous time for many bands and the music industry as a whole. Music trends were changing quickly, with Grunge being the darling of the time. Though I definitely hear a Grunge influence, I can imagine most of the major labels just didn’t know what to do with this collection of outstanding tunes and thus, ANGEL OF MERCY faded into obscurity.

Until now.  Nearly 30 years after being recorded, Shadow Kingdom Records is giving an official release to this long sought after and often bootlegged album. It’s not just any release. “The Avatar” is getting the full treatment here as a two-disc release, remixed, remastered and featuring the original album, as well as a second disc of rarities, and studio sessions and outtakes.

The album opens with the slow build of “In The Beginning” that musically is reminiscent of VAN HALEN, with a tale of the book of Genesis sung by David St. James before leaping into “Angel Of Mercy”, which sets the tone for the rest of the album and what a furious tone it is! There is so much happening here.  Introspective lyrics in songs like “Soul Searcher” and “Break Away”, that are memorably backed by very talented musicians. David St. James is a chameleon vocalist often sounding familiar and at other times unique and distinct. The vocals on “Chained To A World” reminded me very much of David Bowie, while backed by Alex Lifeson, RUSH riffs. Indeed, the RUSH influence is throughout. From Kaign Sevenson’s thundering, furious bass riffs, to Deniz Derya Gallegos wailing away with Neil Peart inspired fills.  “Victim Of The Change” was a quick favorite, with a catchy hook and was over before I was ready for it to be. The original album closes with “The Succubuss” which almost has, dare I say, a Thrash influence? Albeit, a slower pace than usual Thrash, but I definitely feel the influence there.

The bonus material is a really nice addition that accentuates and reinforces the significance of the original recording.  It’s really unfortunate that it took nearly 30 years for this album to see the light of day. So kudos to Shadow Kingdom Records for taking the time to treat this collection from ANGEL OF MERCY with the fanfare and respect it deserves. I have no doubt I’ll be listening to this for years to come.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. In The Beginning
2. Angel Of Mercy
3. Chained To A World
4. Soul Searcher
5. Break Away
6. Metamorphosis
7. The Avatar
8. Victim Of Change
9. Journey To The Master
10. The Last Encounter
11. The Succubuss
November 1983 Las Vegas Recording Sessions
12. The Succubuss
13. Soul Searcher
14. The Avatar
15. The Last Encounter
Spring 1992 Abandoned Session IMR Studio
16. Enter The Abyss
17. In The Beginning
18. Angel Of Mercy
19. Metamorphosis
Unreleased from Avatar Sessions
20. The Journey Begins
2015 IMR Studio Session
21. Chained To A World
David St. James – Vocals and Guitar
Kaign Sevenson – Bass, Guitars, and Vocals
Deniz Derya Gallegos – Drums, Keyboards, and Vocals
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records


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Edited 26 November 2022

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