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Angel House: The Gun, The Love & The Cross

Power trios seem to be quite a rare commodity these days, so it is to Angel House's credit that the Easthope brothers, Pete and Phil along with Simon Cooper, buck that trend to release their second album since forming in 2004. Debut release, World On Fire, which was put out in 2007 gained a few positive reviews and was often sited as having the ability to launch the second coming of the NWOBHM. With The Gun, The Love & The Cross, Angel House continue where that debut album left off, sticking with their brand of strong straight ahead riffs and fine solos that yes do evoke some thoughts of NWOBHM. However if you were to add the guitar sound of Billy Duffy of Brit rock veterans The Cult and the swagger and off beat quirkiness of one time Canadian hopefuls Coney Hatch to the mix, then you would come pretty close to nailing what Angel House are all about.

When that brew works the trio possess a cocky swagger that is as infectious as it is impressive. "The Last Song", (which is actually the second last song?!) blasts into view with a sleazy chorus and a Cult like verse riff that insists you strut around like a preening front man from its first note. It's a simply stunning track and by far the best thing on the album. Unfortunately Angel House do fall into the trap of aping their influences a little too closely and there is the odd moment when you are checking to see if what you are listening to is a cover version, as the sound and feel is just too derivative. However they still ply their trade with skill and precision so those nods to their peers can be forgiven and with Peter Easthope's vocals they do have a powerful frontman with a charismatic voice.

That's not to say that there aren't other highlights on the album with "This Spirit", "Heaven Tonight" or "Breakout" all being good honest hard rockers with great guitars, solid bass playing and thumping drums. In fact considering that most of what is contained within The Gun, The Love & The Cross is heads down, no nonsense guitar led rock it does stand up to repeated listens remarkably well and becomes more interesting with familiarity. Production wise this album is spot on with Magnum producer/engineer Mark Stuart combining punchy solid guitars with thundering rhythms and crisp, clear yet aggressive vocals.

Album number two for Angel House cements their reputation as solid dependable rockers that are no stranger to a blinding riff or fiery guitar solo and with a slightly larger sprinkling of originality there's no reason why they can't use The Gun, The Love & The Cross as a springboard to bigger, better things.

Their debut suggested that great things were possible from Angel House and while that difficult second release doesn't quite take them to the next level, there's still much to recommend about it.


Track Listing
1. This Spirit
2. Iron Rails
3. Day By Day
4. House Of Law
5. Heaven Tonight
6. Hit The Target
7. Breakout
8. Soul Breaker
9. The Last Song
10. When The Water Gets Too High

Added: November 9th 2009
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Escape Records
Hits: 554
Language: english

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