Neither a concept album based on the classic Maugham novel, nor a paean to what some dewy-eyed fetishists like to call the art of romantic restraint, "Of Human Bondage" instead displays the power metal mastery of this German band.
Extolling the virtues of compassion and tolerance over xenophobia and hate, Angel Dust thematically link the ten tracks on this disc to a plea for understanding. Hardly what you'd expect from a band that took its name from a Venom song, but founding member Frank Banx and Co. are not your typical retro-thrash outfit, and Banx's great-grandfather actively participated in the Resistance during WWII, adding historical depth to songs like the anti-skinhead "Got This Evil." New Duster Ritchie Wilkinson displays both nuance and power in his electric and acoustic guitar work, and longtime singer Dirk Thurisch puts body and soul into his Dio-like vocals. There's even a cover of Seal's "Killer." What more could you possibly want? World peace would be nice. In the meantime, "Of Human Bondage" helps the good fight.