|Musical Style: Heavy Metal||Produced By: Jan Nemec|
|Record Label: Ulterium||Country Of Origin: Czech Republic|
|Year Released: 1990/2011||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 40:03|
It’s been some time coming but Angel On The Run, the 1990 full length debut of Czech Republic based Kreyson, has at last been re-issued- courtesy of Ulterium Records in the summer of 2011. The album preceded the groups 1992 sophomore release Crusaders, also re-issued the summer of 2011 by Ulterium, and the all Czech efforts Elixír Života (1993) and Zákon Džungle (1995) and a compilation, The Best Of Kreyson (1996). Kreyson has also stayed busy in recent years, putting out a live album in 2007, Noc plná hvìzd Tøinec, and in 2009 a package of ten of its classic tracks re-recorded entitled 20 Years Of Kreyson.
Angel On The Run, similar to Crusaders, has been out of print and hard to find for an extended period of time (the last time the two were made available was in 1993 on Victor Entertainment in Japan). Hence, a second re-issue - with new album artwork - is long overdue.
On Angel On The Run Kreyson delivers classic melodic metal mixed with occasional aspects of speed and power metal. If you enjoy crunchy rhythm guitars, shredding leads, powerful drums and falsetto driven vocals then I can see Kreyson appealing to your tastes.
Kreyson shines on melodic based tracks “No Blue Skies”, with its near mesmerizing tempo, and “Deep In The Night”, as a result of its layered guitar harmonies, in addition to ballads “Far Away” and “I Need You”. A heavier direction - and this is where those classic metal influences come into play - is taken on “Skalp” and “Golden Ark” while “Kreyson” and “Fade Out” border on all out speed metal. Some power metal elements can be found on the albums double bass driven title track.
I purchased Angel On The Run in the mid-nineties and have found it to hold up quite well over the years. Yes, some songs are better than others - Angel On The Run is front loaded with its four best tracks - but there is nothing I skip over either. If I were to invite comparison, the album is somewhat heavier and faster than Crusaders, although not quite as polished production wise.
As for production, it is quite solid in presenting a crisp and edgy sound without coming across thin. Again, Crusaders might showcase a touch more polish, but Angel On The Run, with its rawer feel, allows for the more energetic band performance.
Ladislav Krizek shines with his high end and melodic based vocal approach. Yes, he displays a penchant for cutting loose with the periodic falsetto but not to the point of overdoing it. I particularly enjoy the emotion he displays on “Deep In The Night” while “Golden Ark” finds him exhibiting some low-key grit and angst.
Guitarist Jaroslav Barton is a shredder in the truest sense of the word, decorating the albums length with his bristling leads and mega-tight melodies and harmonies. His soloing ranges from the blazing (such as “Kreyson”) to the neo-classical (check out the albums title track), while “Deep In The Night” and “Far Away” reflect his stunning harmony abilities.
Lyrics did not come with the packaging (I wrote the review off the original 1990 version) but are written from a Christian standpoint. “No Blue Skies” states “Out of the darkest night/I am coming home” while “Angel On The Run” reinforces “I have come to save you/I am always by your side”. Others such as “Dreamin’” and “I Need You” are basic love songs.
Track By Track
“Kreyson”, the group’s signature track, delivers it all: edgy riffs, mercurial tempo, huge choir-like chorus and an instrumental passage running the gamut from orchestral elements to shredding guitars. This one sets the stage for what is to follow.
“Skalp” slows the tempo while delivering the heavier touch. With avalanches of guitars leading the way, “Skalp” borders on classic metal with its all out intensity and Krizek singing in a lower register. I am somewhat reminded of Rob Rock’s Holy Hell solo release as a result of the songs darker milieu.
“Deep In The Night” starts slowly to a keyboard based opening with guitars bouncing between the left and right channel. The song picks up in pace at once, turning into a melodic based monster the rest of the way - chorus is over the top huge - with its beautiful guitar harmonies and layers of highlighting keyboards.
“No Blue Skies” ranks with Kreyson’s best. The song represents a return to an upbeat heading, powered by intense guitar onslaughts and a high energy tempo certain to have you returning time and again. Several wailing falsettos can be found along with some ripping lead guitar work. Albums strongest track.
Ballad “Far Away” proves quite the contrast. The song starts slowly and quietly, smoothly maneuvering its first half until the rhythm guitar cuts in and carries things to their poignantly charged close. Scorpions couldn’t do much better.
The albums title track represents an upbeat cruncher. Fast paced and heavy set, “Angel On The Run” rips with its high end flavorings and outbursts of rollicking double bass, only backing off from the tempestuous mindset for a chorus delivering a bottom heavy and low-end groove.
“Dreamin’” approaches semi-ballad territory (you will find some Stryper flavorings here). Big vocal melodies prevail as does a mid-paced environs that has moving written all over it. Emotionally done guitar work can be found along with quite the heartfelt melody.
“Golden Ark” represents a return to a heavier direction, as aptly demonstrated in the weighty guitar layers that impel its distance and a chorus driven by hard hitting backing vocals. Low end comes across every bit as thick and swarthy- I can easily see Saint doing something like this.
The albums second ballad, “I Need You”, heads in an eighties influenced direction. Bountiful vocal melodies prevail along with a polished chorus of a near commercial variety. The song might be the albums longest at just under six minutes but fails to return with its compelling time and tempo changes (from slower to fast).
“Fade Out” is speed metal all the way, three minutes of furious spirit in which the band puts its all out energy on full display. This one kicks up quite the relentless storm but stands up under a perfect but subtle melody all the same.
Angel On The Run adds up to a very good debut from a talented but overlooked band. Again, the album has held up quite well over the years while its emphasis on classic melodic metal mixed with power and speed metal elements should appeal to fans with a varying degree of hard music tastes. Angel On The Run, along with Crusaders, comes highly recommended as a result.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Kreyson” (4:05), “Skalp” (3:10), “Deep In The Night” (4:28), “No Blue Skies” (4:14), “Far Away” (4:21), “Angel On The Run” (3:07), “Dreamin’” (3:59), “Golden Ark” (3:34), “I Need You” (5:47), “Fade Out” (3:14)
Ladislav Krizek – Lead Vocals
Jaroslav Barton – Guitars
Karel Adam – Bass
Bob Vondrovic - Drums