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It's always been a bit strange to me how Marko Tervonen's Angel Blake was secluded in the shadows while the remaining ex-The Crown members were experimenting with other genres and inseminating virgin bands that became somewhat known around certain circles. Angel Blake, though, is easily the best project to come out of The Crown's disbanding. The self-titled debut Tervonen built resembles a soul-filled masquerade taking clear influences from melodic metal and metallic rock groups from all around, such as Danzig, The Cult, or maybe a heavier version of Tiamat. Overall, Angel Blake's effort authenticates a wonderful record with the power to capture the listener’s attention like a soon-to-be smoker's first pack of cigarettes. Every track is submerged in dignified riffs, royal vocals, enslaving choruses, and a voyage of melodic metal definitely worth the price of admission.
Tervonen's writing style here is far away from the complexity or multilayered compositions often found on The Crown's sturdy releases, traded for a modern metal transcript dipped deep in straightforward, digestible riffs, a multitude of metal sub-genres, and patterns with a focus on catchiness. Although it may appear a little modernistic for some, Tervonen's seeds sprout into massive gardens amplifying the finest fruits; songs like "Lycanthrope" or "A Thousand Storms" are sanctified in lively riffs and arrangements, but clearly wink at progressive metal and thrash-laden tendencies. Therein lies Angel Blake's acumen: a dynamic craft gushing endless equations of hue and form, synthesizing each tune into its own unique atmosphere loaded in different colors of emotion, and sparkling ones at that. Also, I never had the pleasure of experiencing Tony Jelencovich's vocals beforehand, but I must say he is an outstanding performer with a stellar voice and the crystal shoe on Angel Blake's foot; few combinations sound this good.
The record's flow is likewise excellence captured as Angel Blake comes out of the shadows with a nifty opener before jumping into the upbeat "Retaliate," a showstopper covered in Jelencovich's glorious voice and an instrumental effort in the same league. Things slow when the melancholic "Solitude, My Friend" rolls around, which is my favorite song from the record: the instrumentation is amazing, Jelencovich masters the chords in his throat, and the track is dripping with deep emotion. Angel Blake's cover of "Paint it Black" gives the Rolling Stones classic a trashy, metallic edge, yet in a comfortable skin of hard rocking. It's probably the coolest cover of "Paint it Black" I've heard, and considering almost every musical artist or group ever has retooled it, that's quite the achievement.
Angel Blake's direction is voluminously simple - don't get me wrong - but still everything sounds so relaxed and refreshing that it really doesn't matter. Tervonen and crew are consistently burning ablaze as an unexpected peck of sagacity that was hiding under everyone's noses all this time, and the ten-song package given life is certainly one for the scribes. Angel Blake has the potential to sell millions of records and become musical superstars all over the world, yet withhold a sense of valor and honesty within Tervonen's metal roots, which are certainly not forgotten. Thinking about it blows my mind; wondering why it hasn't happened yet is heartbreaking.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com