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Angels Of Babylon - Thundergod

Angels Of Babylon
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 May 2013, 6:08 PM

Metal straight from the heart, what an intriguing phrase; I believe that every musical creation is from somewhere near that blood filled area that beats and pumps all the time, joining hands with the mind lest we forget. That said without any disrespect of course for ex-MANOWAR drummer, Kenny “Rhino” Earl, for his words regarding the material for his band ANGELS OF BABYLON’s new album, “Thundergod”, released via Scarlet Records. I respect his words because if one will think about it, there is something within nowadays Metal music coveting upon becoming technical than the known traditional means and styles of the past, so losing the “bottom of the heart” effect upon the material might be noticeable. Gladly that traditional Metal musicians, at least most of them, still have their direction set. There will be always that desire to progress, even for just a little bit, but without letting go of the music’s soul. So guys, after my bid to interpret Rhino’s words, I will head to the real reason you are reading my babbles, “Thundergod”.

Listing to this piece of traditional meets Power Metal music, I found voluminous crisscross and turns to the measly crux of Metal music such as BLACK SABBATH, DIO and IRON MAIDEN along with the Ronnie James Dio’s drops on 70s RAINBOW. Though entrusting themselves to the hands of the early gods of the genre, ANGELS OF BABYLON’s sound engineering tread modern waters. Not that it affected my judgment, as the towering quality was there. Furthermore, within the band’s chosen sound direction the 80s can be sensed with ease. Material wise, I was glad that ANGELS OF BABYLON maintained the spirit of their earlier album “Kingdom Of Evil”, at least more or less. The lineup might have changed with the insertion of vocalist Diego Valdez (Replacing David Fefolt of FIFTH ANGEL) and bass player Steve Handel (Coming forth, taking the role of MEGADETH’s David Ellefson), but it didn’t seem to affect that much on “Thundergod”’s development as a derived old school US Metal album. ANGELS OF BABYLON has Ethan Brosh as guitarist, a fine lead axeman and shredder, walking the walk and talking the talk of the 80s, generating punch through riffing that will devour rhythm guitars fanatics (like yours truly), but also energetically exacerbating with several pieces of incredible soloing (not in the known Neo-Classical Malmsteenish sagacity). Diego Valdez turned out to be quite an addition to this group, resembling an impressive fusion of Ronnie James Dio and Johnny Gioeli (AXEL RUDI PELL), taking charge with such force, proving his value to the crew, a fine choice. And Rhino, what can I add about this guy, he has always been a commanding feature throughout this projects and bands, however, ANGELS OF BABYLON seems to be his special niche. His hammering is as expected, in the range of basic but with outbursts, straight and to the point drumming. His style is not techy, at least not in the same measure of the proficient drummers of the contemporary scene.

Essentially, “Thundergod”’s outcomes and prospects will fulfill the expectations of the old fashioned Metalhead, though I must imply that its whole isn’t entirely basic. The main deal behind “Thundergod” is its straightforwardness. The entire tracklist was built just as past 80s albums were. The earth erupted with the crushing self-titled opener, accumulating speed and rallying the troops to their chariots of fire. I wasn’t that thrilled with it, but for an opener, it is a pure trouble free onslaught. “Queen Warrior”, another fine speedster, raised the bar a notch, enticing not only with haste but also with mid tempo rhythms and much better singing. “King Of All Kings”, so enormous and victorious, might appear to be MANOWARish at times, but with much class, and crafty guitar work. Valdez cracks the sky with his singing, particularly on the chorus that turned out so alluring, with well two layered channels mixed expertly. This is a must anthem to gather around. As much as energetic and addictive full throttle tracks can be, “Thundergod” also set in stone a selection of notable mid tempo tracks. “White Star Line”, “The Enemy” and “True Brothers” sounded like tributes to DIO and BLACK SABBATH with common riffing but well played, catchy tunes, “True Brothers” is plainly a hymn, creating such an amazing atmosphere and of course the vocals are far beyond driven, so commanding and charismatic. “Turning To Stone” is a little halt from the heaviness and madness into a peaceful abode of grace and comfort, very hearty, inspirational ballad that isn’t cheesy or tacky, just honest and well delivered.

Therefore, you have all you need to know out of this great album, a piece of music from the heart and for paying a tribute to Scott Columbus, ex-MANOWAR drummer, that passed away two years ago. Traditional Metal has its share of wholehearted instants; I always believed that it is carved under its genetic code, if you will. “Thundergod” hit right in the spot, aggrandizing the genre and its potency.

4 Star Rating

1. Thundergod
2. Sondrio
3. Queen Warrior
4. What Have You Become
5. White Star Line
6. The Enemy
7. True Brothers
8. Redemption
9. King Of All Kings
10. Turning To Stone
11. Bullet
Diego Valdez - Vocals
Kenny “Rhino” Earl - Drums
Ethan Brosh – Guitar
Steve Handel - Bass
Record Label: Scarlet Records


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