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Black Angels – Steamroller

Black Angels
by Dave Nowels at 30 July 2019, 4:31 PM

Per their bio, BLACK ANGELS are described as a Swiss legend, a band that was seemingly prolific in the late 70's and early 80's. After four albums the band apparently disbanded, apparently for a variety of reasons. The bio I received is incredibly poorly translated, so bear with me as I'm having to somewhat resort to speculation. Something about a band founder joining a monastery, and something about the band getting royally screwed by WHITESNAKE on some deal. Honestly, your guess is a good as mine.
Regardless, Phillips has reformed the band and the album “Changes” was released with the new line-up. “Steamroller” is their newest release, and again, trying to decipher their bio, it seems that HELLOWEEN drummer, Dani Löble took the band under his wing in an attempt to 'modernize' their sound. Having never heard BLACK ANGELS previously, I'm admittedly a bit in the dark as to their previous sound. Sadly, “Steamroller” gives me absolutely zero incentive to peruse their earlier catalog.

The Album opens with the title track, “Steamroller”, and immediately, I'm having trouble connecting with the vocal style of Phillips. Unfortunately this situation never changes for me. Even when I find myself liking the musical direction of a song, (“Spread Your Wings”, “Sound Of Thunder”) I just can't find a way to enjoy the vocals. At times it seems Phillips is trying to mimic Bruce Dickenson (“Wheels Will Fly”), and even the band seems to be trying to capture a NWOBHM vibe (unsuccessfully). It's confusing at best. Even more confusing was the band's need to create an extended version of one of the least captivating tracks on the album, “I.Never.Com”.

Whatever Phillips and BLACK ANGELS were trying to accomplish was lost on this listener. Musically there were some high points, but overall those were few and far between, and drowned out by the lack of style and substance. BLACK ANGELS may have been a force to be reckoned with back in the late 70's/early 80's, but at least for me, have lost any relevancy they may have once had.

Songwriting: 4
Originality: 2
Production: 6

1 Star Rating

1. Steamroller
2. Spread Your Wings
3. Wheel Will Fly
4. I.Never.Com
5. Never Gonna Let You Down
6. Set Me Free
7. Sound Of Thunder
8. Into The Dark
9. When The Night
10. Batman Reloaded
11. The Road
12. I.Never.Com (Extended Version)
Ron Phillips – Vocals
Michael “Mikel”Enders – Bass
Marc “The Shark” Weber - Drums
Andre' Bradtke – Guitar
Record Label: Karthago Records


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