Former guitarist of The Crown Marko Tervonen's new band Angel Blake have just released their self-titled debut on Metal Blade Records. Trying to get away from the death/thrash metal style of his former band a little, Tervonen has changed gears a bit here towards a more melodic and rock based sound. Not that there's not plenty of metal here, but it's more gothic, more classic styled metal songs, rather than screaming vocals, manic guitar riffs, and blast beats. Joining Angel Blake is ex-Transport League and now ex-Mnemic vocalist Tony Jelencovich, and he adds a very modern touch to these ten tracks on the debut. Tony's recent parting with Mnemic after a few tours leaves the door open for him to take part in Angel Blake it appears, and Tervonen has already assembled a line-up for upcoming shows and recordings that includes Jelencovich, drummer Janne Saarenpaa, Orjan Wressel on contrabass, and guitarist Christian Alvestam.
With plenty of melodic and melancholic songs here, Angel Blake seemingly want to tread territories that bands like Katatonia, Green Carnation, Soilwork, Amorphis, and HIM venture into, which in my book is a good thing, as the world has plenty of solid death metal bands at this juncture. Tunes like "Thousand Storms", "Retaliate", and "Solitude My Friend" mix distorted hard rock riffs, passionate vocals, solid rock rhythms, and moments of atmosphere when needed, for a formula that really works and it quite memorable. While I could have done without the cover of The Rolling Stones hit "Paint it Black", they more than make up for that with a haunting mix of doom and gothic melancholy on "…'Til the End", a song that will instantly appeal to fans of Katatonia.
While this debut from Angel Blake might have initially started as a solo album for Marko Tervonen, it sounds as if plans are underway for this to become a full-fledged band. Judging by the solid batch of songs he and Jelencovich have put together here, I think the metal and hard rock fans will take to Angel Blake and help bring this new band to the next level.
1) The Force
5) Solitude, My Friend
7) The Forsaken
8) Thousand Storms
9) Paint It Black
10) … 'Til The End