Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Angel: Once Upon A Time

Following up Risen, pomp legends Angel return with Once Upon A Time and, pleasingly, the same six-piece line-up that graced that previous album - founder members Punky Meadows (guitar) and Frank DiMino (vocals) with Danny Farrow (rhythm guitar), Charlie Calv (keyboards), Steve Ojane (bass) and Billy Orrico (drums). Again, as with Risen, it’s the first three musicians mentioned that co-wrote all fourteen (eleven if you buy the album on vinyl) tracks on show and in that sense the continuity is undeniable. “The Torch” lights the album up, the hopes of matching the band’s legendary calling card “The Tower” clear, even if that was always going to be an impossible task. That said, it’s a mighty opener and backed up with the funkier, popper “Black Moon Rising” makes for a soaring quick one-two that maybe betters anything on Risen. Add in the proud strut of “It’s Alright”, which really does hark back to the band’s glory days as it neatly straddles the pomp of the early albums and pop of what came after, and really this towering trio clear knocked my socks off. And yet, that standard isn’t quite maintained across an album that quickly feels three songs, and maybe a full twenty minutes too long. Yes, I get it, you can’t have too much of a good thing, but when not everything as quite as exciting as the best tracks here, 66 minutes worth of music feels a little unneeded.

The ridiculously titled “Once Upon A Time An Angel And A Devil Fell In Love (And It Did Not End Well)” starts the slide, with the pomposity not quite matched by its substance and a barrage of ‘yeah yeahs’ that I could well have done without. Add in a toe curlingly long section where the music is accompanied by the delights of what is clearly the angel and devil, well, getting it on - which I really never need to hear played out ever again - and what started as a decent track quickly tumbles in on itself. Slow songs also begin to rear their heads at this stage, “Blood Of My Blood, Bone Of My Bone”, trying to be a mid-paced stomper but dragged down by overwrought backing vocals and no clear direction, while Dimino’s still excellent vocals save the sappy “Let It Rain” from a similar fate. All the more frustrating when the fiery as hell “Psyclone” riffs like a good ‘un and “Turn The Record Over” cleverly leans on Mott The Hoople for some inspiration - nice! To me, “Rockstar” and its parping keyboards could have been what this band would have sounded like if they could have gotten their shit together in 80s, while “C’Mon” (one of the ‘bonus tracks’) is another big, bold chant along.

Oddly, I enjoyed Risen much more than most people seemed to but I have to admit that while Once Upon A Time still puts a wide grin on my face and has me, in places, punching the air, as an album from start to finish there’s just a little too much padding to provide the same adrenalin rush. Nothing here is terrible, but there’s definitely a couple of songs I would have edited out of the running order if it had been up to me. That said, the opening three cuts here are, arguably, right up there with this band’s very best, so maybe it’s a case of taking the rough with the smooth?

Track Listing
1. The Torch
2. Black Moon Rising
3. It's Alright
4. Once Upon A Time An Angel And A Devil Fell In Love (And It Did Not End Well)
5. Let It Rain
6. Psyclone
7. Blood Of My Blood, Bone Of My Bone
8. Turn The Record Over
9. Rock Star
10. Without You
11. Liar Liar
12. Daddy’s Girl 

13. C’mon

14. Let the Kid Out

Added: April 7th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Angel Official
Hits: 841
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by