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Archangel - The Akallabeth CD (album) cover





2.92 | 20 ratings

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2 stars The Akallabeth is the first venture by Italian project band Archangel, and all diehard Tolkien fans should be aware that it is a concept album - based on the fall of Numenor from Silmarillion, unless I'm much mistaken. For me this is probably the most interesting aspect of this production as well though, as the musical contents with a few notable exceptions left me rather cold.

Most of the tracks here are constructed in a very similar pattern: Mellow symphonic or symphonic-tinged passages are contrasted by harder hitting sequences from various parts of the hard rock musical family, usually with 2 or 3 segments of each stylistic expression within each composition. The gentler parts range from new age tinged atmospheric ventures to Genesis light in expression, while the harder hitting ones range from generic hard rock and AOR in style to excursions inspired by more sophisticated artists like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Eloy.

Sadly, at least in my ears, it's not that well made. The compositions generally come across as cliched, and while the various forms of keyboards and synths utilized can at times be highly intriguing and generally of good quality, the drums are mechanical and onedimensional, the guitar primitive in sound and at times also in performance in my view. The lead vocals are a mixed bunch as well - at best good but also with overly dramatic and slightly out of tune performances. Power Within representing the latter to perfection in my opinion.

A few decent efforts pop up now and then though, and on the almost epic length creation The Downfallen, all the pieces assembles almost perfectly. A nicely evolving and changing venture, the most sophisticated effort on this album by far and also the track with the best lead vocals. Too bad about the lyrics though.

While the writings of Tolkien are the inspiration behind this production, the lyrics are pretty far removed from the quality of his books. Cliche is a word quite fitting to most of the lyrical content here, with Manowar as a clear and distinct reference, most notaly in the energetic folk-goes symphonic-goes hard rock effort Raise the Sword, but also very much present in most of the other compositions here.

When that is said - those fond of the melodramatic and akin to like the less sophisticated parts of the progressive realsm might find this stuff to be rather interesting. And will probably be the major potential buying audience for this effort - alongside truly dedicated fans of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.

Windhawk | 2/5 |


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