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Archangel - Tales of Love and Blood CD (album) cover





2.92 | 17 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars - First Review Of This Album -

ARCHANGEL is [led by] Gabriele Manzini, the keyboard player from The Watch and Ubi Maior, and this is the second album (which by the way seemed to have a double entry here, with two different covers). The Watch, originally a Genesis cover band with a very Peter Gabriel -sounding vocalist, was familiar to me in advance, otherwise the artist is a new acquaintance for me; just another of those CD's I've received for reviewing.

True, this music is pure Neo Prog, reminiscent of ARENA and PENDRAGON and their ilk, but worse. In principle the 62-minute keyboard-oriented album is a well crafted, clean-sounding and finely produced conceptual work, fairly listenable all the way if not the most original and mature one. The main problem is that it's all too typical and clichéd to rise above hundreds of similar Neo albums from two or three decades, from any country between the UK and Poland. As such I probably wouldn't rate it higher than three stars even if a couple of irritating features weren't there.

1) I dislike the vocalists Gianluigi Girardi and Joe Salati. Girardi is a pretentious drama queen tenor with an overdose of silly vibrato (compare him to the SHADOWLAND vocalist), Salati is slightly better but still quite uninteresting bland of an average rock vocalist and someone like Jon Bon Jovi. Damian Wilson beats them both, and his tender and emotional tenor voice suits to the music. Anyway, a waste to have three rather similar vocalists that don't much widen up the whole thing together, as three more different vocalists would.

2) The themes and moods are sooooooo naive and clichéd that even Arena feels very grown up in comparison. 'Ouverture' has spoken narration about horrible events in 1611, about a blood-thirsty woman who naturally becomes known as Countess Dracula. The proper songs follow in that vein. Like in a very cheap horror flick inhabited by vampires and evil persons. The lyrics don't even function as "tales", they're just dark, mock-historical mess to me. I was just about to write "only dragons are missing" when I spotted that word, ha! I can always forgive stupid lyrics and just ignore them if the music is enjoyable, but here the music is painfully faithful to that rubbish concept. Do I need to add that the whole leaflet is almost entirely black-coloured?

One nice surprise there is. A sad, atmospheric version of Roxy Music / Bryan Ferry song 'My Only Love', sung - pretty well, for change - by Girardi. But I'm sure this CD won't survive long in my collection.

Matti | 2/5 |


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