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Archangel Tales of Love and Blood album cover
2.92 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews | 12% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Frozen Torment (Ouverture)
2. When the Night
3. Nosferatu
4. Misplaced Love
5. The Night Scythe
6. The Black Bride
7. My Only Love
8. In Loneliness

Line-up / Musicians

- Gabriele Manzini (Ubi Maior, ex-The Watch) - keyboards
- Alessandro Dovì - guitars
- Marcella Arganese (Ubi Maior, Shylock) - guitars
- Stefano Mancarella (Ubi Maior) - guitars
- Ettore Salati (ex-The Watch, Soulengine) - guitars
- Gualtiero Walter Gorreri (Ubi Maior) - bass
- Davide Martinelli - drums
- Damian Wilson (Threshold, Headspace) - vocals
- Gianluigi Girardi - vocals
- Joe Salati - vocals

Releases information

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
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ARCHANGEL Tales of Love and Blood ratings distribution

(17 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(18%)
Good, but non-essential (59%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

ARCHANGEL Tales of Love and Blood reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
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.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars `Tales of Love and Blood' is a well performed and produced concept work by former The Watch/current Ubi Major Italian keyboard player Gabriele Manzini, operating under the project name of Archangel. With the help of other players, the musician has composed a range of dense extended works and branching suites of music, as well as some cover versions, that run through a range of power AOR, heavy progressive rock, Neo prog and classical gothic sophistication. Gabriele is certainly influenced by the bombastic symphonic rock of artists such as Ayreon, Lana Lane and Arena, but he still brings a typical Italian flair to his keyboard and piano playing, and there's even little traces of doom metal kings My Dying Bride and the Alan Parsons Project worked in throughout. It's no surprise to find that the album is especially keyboard dominated, but there's also plenty of opportunities for the other musicians brought in to offer nice contributions. Sadly a number of issues stop the album and band from achieving the best results, but there's so much potential on display here.

`The Countess Bathory Suite' covers the first four tracks of the album, and there's numerous standout moments. Opening with a narrated passage that details the background of the notorious historical figure before a fanfare crescendo, the blustery and stomping AOR rocker `When The Night' kicks in, a serious and theatrical vocal from Gianluigi Girardi over Gabriele Manzini's pulsing Hammond runs and some stirring electric guitar soloing. Then a sombre take on the Blue Oyster Cult's `Nosferatu' features a truly beautiful opening floating keyboard and creeping Mellotron introduction and a darkly crooned vocal from Joe Salati that brings a sense of flair and dark drama. `Misplaced Love' has lovely chiming Neo flavoured acoustic and 12 string guitars, a superior and touching vocal from guest Damian Wilson with some dazzling Rick Wakeman-styled Moog solos in the first half. The middle twists into a heavy instrumental that races through urgent tempo changes, ghostly piano and searing Mellotrons. This suite is easily the highlight of the disc!

Unfortunately, although the almost 14 minute `The Night Scythe' is probably intended to the crowning achievement of the disc, it's one of the least interesting pieces on offer. Several long stretches feature unmemorable melodies, over-wrought vocals and dragging repetitive passages, it's seriously plodding and rapidly grinds the album to a near-halt. It's a shame, because it starts out very promising with some sinister My Dying Bride-styled brooding guitars, has lovely fluid bass throughout and there's endless beautiful piano passages to Manzini's credit.

The `Love and Blood Suite' quickly improves things again. With a soothing melody that greatly resembles `Green-Eyed Angel' from `Pendragon's `Not of this World', `The Black Bride' is another classy Damian Wilson-led ballad with sadly romantic piano and rising electric guitars. It moves through a melancholic and tasteful cover of Roxy Music's `My Only Love' (always an underrated track from that band) with glistening electric piano, ripping Hammond and dynamic guitar solos in the finale, before closing the album on the intense and stalking `In Loneliness', full of doomy riffs and hellbound organ with a classic Neo- styled dreamy bridge.

Regretfully, the band also includes a bonus track, a well played but utterly cringe-worthy and overly polite cover of Black Sabbath's `Wheels of Confusion' that is completely devoid of all the scuzzy charm of the original. Sigh...

Although I've praised many sections of the album, sadly this sort of overbearing AOR/hard- rock is rarely my sort of thing, and I have a very low tolerance of similar acts like most of the Anthony Aryen Luccassen-styled projects. Despite being very impressed by numerous sections, I still find much of the histrionic and deadly serious vocals quite draining, with just a slight hint of blandness creeping in a little too often as well. The cover versions are well- done but distracting and totally unnecessary, because the band already displays more than enough confidence to stand by their own work. But I can truly appreciate talented musicians performing complex arrangements, and there is no doubt Gabriele Manzini is something of a virtuoso musician, and frequently (and thankfully) his playing is subtle and restrained. I have a feeling he's slowly honing his craft and will soon make a truly defining and grand musical statement all his own in the future.

So it's three stars for me personally, but any fans of the above mention Ayreon-type artists can probably add another star to this rating, and they may find this album the perfect way to pass the time until the next proper Arena or Luccassen albums.

Oh, and Gabriele - ditch the covers and let your own talent shine!

Latest members reviews

4 stars Somebody called him "Genius". Not far from the truth indeed. "Tales of Love and Blood" is well-crafted project based on horror tales, misty legends and melancholy stories. Nothing new of course, but the grace and writing skills of Gabriele "Archangel" Manzini have managed to portrait nine atmos ... (read more)

Report this review (#1147782) | Posted by Dr. Gothic | Friday, March 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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