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Archangel - The Akallabeth CD (album) cover

THE AKALLABETH

Archangel

 

Neo-Prog

2.83 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

apps79
Special Collaborator
Neo Prog Team
3 stars Archangel is the moniker used by Italian keyboardist Gabriele Manzini.His career started in late-90's as a founding member of Ubi Maior, while he also spent time as a member of The Watch, playing on ''The Ghost'' album and touring with the group all over Europe as well as in Central America.Around the time of Ubi Maior's second album, in 2009, he also released his first album ''The Akallabeth'' on AMS, inspired by the eponymous chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien's ''The Silmarillion''.His guest list is quite impressive: Ettore Salati (guitar) and Marco Schembri (bass) from The Watch, Stefano Mancarella (guitar), Gualtiero Gorreri (bass), Alessandro Di Caprio (drums) and Mario Moi (vocals) from his own band Ubi Maior, Francesca Naccarelli on female voices from Dunwich, as well as Emiliano Laglia on bass, Davide Martinelli on drums and Alessandro Dovi on guitars.But the star members appear in the vocal section: Threshold's and ex-Landmarq's Damian Wilson, Enchant's and Spock's Beard's Ted Leonard, Zachary Stevens of Savatage fame and the Prog Metal vocalist Gianluigi Girardi.

Musically ''The Akallabeth'' lies at the Neo Prog side of Progressive Rock, quite different from the deeply symphonic sound of Manzini's Ubi Maior, and sounding a lot like SHADOWLAND, LANDMARQ and CASINO, that means there are also some light AOR vibes throughout, although the prog tendencies are the major driving forces of the album.Often regarded as a Rock Opera, the album lacks the depth and extreme maturity of the best albums of the style, while no Folk elements or external acoustic textures appear in the album, despite the fact that the chosen concept serves fairly these kind of additions.On the other hand ''The Akallabeth'' offers some great tracks with amazing keyboard parts, refined melodies and orchestral and quite cinematic themes.The experienced line-up of singers guarantees impressive performances behind the microphone, I really can't find a weak performance related to the vocal parts of the album.Guitars are also nice with interesting leads, heavy groovy parts and melodious solos.The musicianship is pretty solid, the arrangements rich and tight and the combination of lyrical passages with passionate instrumental lines is definitely efficient.Although the keyboards' king are the synthesizers in here, there are also doses of organ and Mellotron added for good measure.No complex ideas or sudden breaks, this album offers well-crafted keyboard-driven Progressive Rock with decent tracks from the start to the very end.

Questions rise about fitting this kind of concept with an overall Neo Prog attitude.However the great music is the leading factor of purchasing an album and Archangel's ''The Akallabeth'' contains plenty of it.Warmly recommended.

apps79 | 3/5 |

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