a l b u m r e v i e w s


SONS OF ANGELS
THRILL OF THE FEEL

VICTOR JAPAN VICP-61014
Produced by: Jun Senoue

Released: OUT NOW
Closest Relative: A.R. Pell, Hardline
GENRE: Hard Rock
OVERALL: 76%

  1. The Star Spangled Banner
  2. Dangerous Ground
  3. Into The Wind
  4. Fill It Up*
  5. Revvin' Up
  6. Rush Into The Crazy World*
  7. In The Lead
  8. Watch Me Fly...
  9. On The Road Again*
  10. Fuel Me
  11. When The Sun Goes Down*
  12. All The Way
  13. Open Your Heart
* Instrumental
This is not your average rock release. But is does have a couple of above average points to it that make it well worthy of featuring on this website.
Sons Of Angels is not a come back of the Norwegian rock group fronted by vocalist Solli, but a project name given to a soundtrack to a Sega Computer racing game in Japan. This sort of this has been done before, with session guitarists lending (selling) their time to various games. Mr. Big's Eric Martin also provided a lead vocal on two tracks on another game for Sega.
The outstanding thing about Sons Of Angels and this soundtrack is that the band features Jun Senoue of Loudness on guitar (who also wrote and produced the whole album - in fact he works for Sega fulltime!), plus the Loudness rhythm section. Joining them on lead vocals is none other than ex-Hardline and current Axel Rudi Pell vocalist Johnny Gioeli.
Johnny warned me to listen to this album for what it is, not as a normal hard rock release. True enough too. Just read through the song titles and you can see it's themed towards the game.
You also have to listen between instrumentals for the vocal tracks.
The music component is first rate. It would have been enough to release it as an instrumental album.
Jun's production is tight and the mix even. The music is a blend of what the Japanese love most - a commercial American attitude, with the feel of European hard rock.
There is plenty here for guitar fans and solo's throughout. Fans of Satriani style solo's and instrumental passages will get a lot out of this album.
As for the vocal side of the release, that too is flawless, expect nothing more from Gioeli. The thing is, the song structure is not really set up for your standard verse, chorus, verse approach.
There are choruses and there is a lot to like from the vocals, but the lyrics are all race themed and don't have the effect of a standard rock song.
For that reason, it comes up a little short. It's more an instrumental album with vocals to balance it out. And I don't think Johnny or Jun would object to that definition.
As I said the vocals are as strong as you could hope for and flawlessly executed, but the over all feel is that they are there as an extra effect.
Best songs are the ones that have a more pronounced chorus. Revvin' Up for example is very good.
In The Lead has a major Kick Start My Heart feel and is also pretty cool and the more laid back melodic Watch Me Fly is also cool.
In fact a few songs carry the feel of Motley Crue's Dr Feelgood album.
BOTTOM LINE: An album that should be listened to with the intent that it was created. Not as a general hard rock project. Do that and you will be disappointed.
Listen to it more as an instrumental project with some great accompanying vocals and you will get more out of it. Even with a cold Gioeli can sing like a demon.
To sum up, a solid hard rocking album without the flare to make it a great one.
PRODUCTION: 82% SONGS: 73% VIBE: 75%ATTITUDE: 78%
ESSENTIAL FOR: Die hard Gioeli & Loudness fans, guitar instrumental fans and fans of solid hard rock.


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