Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Rough Angel - Hear The Angels Rock (2011)

Rough Angel [Website | Facebook | MySpace]
Hear The Angels Rock

Rough Angel - Hear The Angels Rock
The story of California's Rough Angel is similar to that of many Hollywood Strip bands of late '80s and early '90s. Emerging just as grunge was grinding its boot heels on heavy metal's throat, Rough Angel would fade into history without having released a single album to the public. Four tracks were recorded in 1993, however, with the intention of being strictly for industry promotional purposes. Frontman Csaba Zvekan has retrieved those recordings from the annals of unreleased metal, remastered them, and now finally gives them a proper release as the Hear The Angels Rock EP - which also happens to be the first title put out by Rock N Growl Records.

Hear The Angels Rock is straightforward, unapologetic heavy metal overflowing with traditionally inspired guitar work and vocals. Each of the four tracks contains enough crunch and flash to satisfy fans of the era of metal's dominance, thanks to gritty efforts by Marc Mougavero and founding Rough Angel guitarist Jimmy Z. "Defiance" stands out for its squealing licks, while the smoldering menace to the riffs of "Let It Burn" make that track a favorite. For his part, Zveken delivers a solid performance that manages to channel the unique styles of both Axl Rose and Dio. Sometimes soulful, such as on the title track, but most often belting out throat-straining screams, Zveken captures the essence of the late-'80s metal style.

An aspect of Hear The Angels Rock that will either endear listeners to it, or turn them away from it, is the quality of production. There is a definite indie essence to the sound that is, in fact, quite raw but very reminiscent of the period during which these songs were originally recorded. There's a certain charm in that, but those who are only familiar with today's robust production values may let this feature of the EP taint the solid old-school metal it contains.

I'm an '80s metal junkie, and though the songs on Hear The Angels Rock were recorded in the early '90s they espouse everything that fans of the era love about the sound. While the tracks here are quite raw when held to modern standards, the fact that they are seeing the light of day at all is fantastic. It would be nice if more long lost recordings were retrieved from whatever vaults they've been hiding in over the decades.

Track Listing
1Standing by Mirrors4:58
3Let It Burn4:55
4Hear the Angels Rock5:18
Total Runtime21:01

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