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Ghost Avenue: Even Angels Fail

Playing a chunky and modernized take on melodic old-school metal ala Pink Cream 69 or early Europe, Ghost Avenue are a Norwegian quintet that would be right at home on a Frontiers Records sampler disc. Their shimmering, catchy riffs and AOR-isms that leap right out of the speakers at you are pretty standard amongst their peers in the melodic metal game, so what else do they have to offer? Well, on their newest album Even Angels Fail, the answer is a mixed bag, really.

There's some things to like on Even Angels Fail, starting with the thick and crunchy rhythm guitars. They sound really nice and dense, and while not exactly bringing anything new to the table, there's quite a few memorable riffs and runs throughout the album. "Wasted Generation" in particular features bouncy and energetic playing that evokes what the best of the genre had to offer in the 80's. The lead guitars sound a bit thin, and while competently played for the most part, there's nothing particularly mind blowing to be heard in that regard. The bass is punchy and loud, and it sounds great as well. There's some diversity in the album's 10 tracks, although it does tend to stay fairly put in the mid/slightly-up-tempo range on the whole.

Ghost Avenue's main strength is when the band's melodic and fun Sunset Strip hair metal tendencies start peaking through the heavier parts on the album. The previously mentioned "Wasted Generation" and "Hero" are the best examples of this on Even Angels Fail, with their energetic and party-rock riffs swaggering about with infectious vocal harmonies to boot. It's fun stuff.

On the flipside, many of the tracks fail to offer much in the way of replayability or memorability, which is a death sentence for a band that has their feet planted very strongly in the melodic metal realm. You've got to have earworm hooks or choruses, and I'd say about half of the album doesn't have a lot to offer in that regard. The other major issue with this album (and Ghost Avenue as a whole) is that the vocals are sub-par to these ears, and could really use a vocalist with more range and bravado. Vocalist Kim Sandvik has a very nasal voice and the songs here would be much better served by someone who has a more commanding and traditional delivery. The lyrics don't do him a lot of favors either, as they are largely word salad without much deep meaning. That said, when there's some backing vocal harmonies going on, everything sounds much better and more suitable for the material. A good harmony goes a long way. That should probably be the first commandment sent down from the metal gods when melodic metal has it's stone tablets created.

So what you have here with Even Angels Fail is a fairly by the numbers but competently played bit of heavied up throwback euro-metal that has some impressive moments but won't exactly crack a bunch of year end top 10 lists. Certainly worth a listen for the highlights if you are a fan of this kind of stuff, but there's a lot more interesting and exciting stuff to be had in this sub-genre if you are willing to look.

1. Best of the Best
2. Breakdown
3. Wasted Generation
4. The Fallen
5. Still Craving
6. Take Cover
7. Northman
8. Hero
9. A Violent Disturbance of the Peace
10. Even Angels Fail

Added: September 1st 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 451
Language: english

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