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Arc Angel: Harlequins of Light

Harlequins of Light continues Frontiers Records' winning streak of late. With the proverbial cast of thousands (Jeff Batter: Acoustic Piano, Synths, Jay Rowe: Organ, Synths, Scott Spray: Bass Guitar, David Coe: Acoustic Guitar, Jimi Bell, Gary Maus, Andy Abel, Tony Spada, Mark Proto, Jay Jesse Johnson: Lead Guitars and Pete Hodson: Background Vocals, Synth) Arc Angel main man and general melodic rock legend Jeff Cannata (Lead and Background Vocals, Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Guitars) has created a fabulous pomptastic throwback of an album.

Bizarrely enough the record opens with a huge cacophony of sound which is highly reminiscent of the Sarah Brightman song "Fleurs du Mal" but other than that Harlequins of Light is a delight from start to finish. "As Far As the Eye Can See" displays an Asia-like pop sensibility and John Wetton is one of the touchstones which I would attach to this release as Cannata sounds very much like the bass playing Brit throughout.

I semi-recently listened to an interview where Dennis De Young explained why he took Styx into a more mainstream direction in the late 1970s – because he thought that progressive, bombastic pomp rock was dead. Harlequins of Light proves that in creative terms at least, he is and was wrong. If you like Magnum or Asia's early output, then this will be very much up your avenue.

Track Listing:

  1. Harlequins of Light
  2. As Far As the Eye Can See
  3. War (BattleWounds of Life)
  4. Voice of Illuminati
  5. Through The Night
  6. Amnesia (The Rest of Your Life)
  7. Fortune Teller 2
  8. California Daze
  9. Tonight… Forever
  10. Get To You
  11. Diamonds and Gold
  12. Legend of the Mary Celeste

Added: March 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Frontiers Records
Hits: 2568
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Arc Angel: Harlequins of Light
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-03-03 20:05:34
My Score:

In 1983 the melodic rock band Arc Angel released their debut album. I remember the band's name but have to admit that album passed me by. Nothing was heard from the band again until 2013 when original member Jeff Cannata brought the band out of the ashes and released Harlequins Of Light and the result is a very good album.

Besides Cannata (drums, bass, vocals, keyboards) the band includes Jeff Batter (acoustic piano, synths), Scott Spray (bass) , David Coe (acoustic guitars) and a few other fine musicians.

Beginning with the super catchy title track, the great melodies keep on coming throughout these twelve tracks. The instruments are well played with a nice combination of synths and acoustic piano with effective guitar riffs adding crunch although the music never ventures into metal territory. Softer keyboard textures abound adding nice contrast and depth to most of the tracks and lush orchestral arrangements are used frequently. I should also mention Cannata's vocals as they are ideally suited for his brand of melodic rock. He has a pleasing tone to his voice and never tries to over sing the notes as is so often the case in modern rock. At times his voice reminded me of Canadian musician Gowan like in the soothingly pleasing "Fortune Teller 2", a reworking of "Fortune Teller", a tune taken from his Images Of Forever solo album. Michael Sadler (Saga) also came to mind. Other melodic gems include the addictive "California Daze" and the feel-good catchiness of "Get To You".

I have to say Arc Angel is a perfect fit for Frontiers Records. If you like melodic rock in the vein of Magnum and similar artists, you owe it to yourself to give Harlequins Of Light a spin.

Arc Angel: Harlequins of Light
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-09-29 13:30:56
My Score:

Since its classic debut release in 1983, Arc Angel and main man Jeff Cannata have released albums on at least five different (mostly overseas-based) labels. So despite Arc Angel's status in melodic rock and AOR circles, many listeners might not be familiar with Cannata (who ancient rock history links to Bon Jovi and House of Lords.)

But as Frontiers is so adept at doing, the label and Cannata connected in 2012 to resurrect the Arc Angel name by bridging the gap between Cannata's different musical eras, including pomp rock, prog and high-tech AOR. The result is Harlequins of Light, 11 new songs and one Cannata classic that should please fans of Trevor Rabin-era Yes, Fish and Magnum (to name just three).

Some of these cuts sound dated, but after hearing the bouncy Mike + The Mechanics-meets-John Payne-era Asia of "Amnesia (For the Rest of Your Life)," you won't care. Good stuff that will take older listeners back to a different era.

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