|Musical Style: Melodic Metal||Produced By: Doug Mann|
|Record Label: Regency||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 1989||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 90%|
|Running Time: 37:01|
Rage Of Angels came roaring out of Connecticut in the late eighties with a commercially accessible but energetic brand of melodic metal certain to appeal to fans of Stryper, Dokken, Holy Soldier and Angelica. Originally known as Ransom, Rage Of Angels got its start by placing two tracks on two different compilation albums: "Reason To Rock" appeared on East Coast Metal, and "Rock For The Rock" made it onto Heavy Righteous Metal. While both songs were a bit rough around the edges production wise, they hinted at the potential the band displayed on its self-titled 1989 Regency Records debut.
Lead vocalist Dan Mariano combines a ton of attitude and charisma with his raw and sassy melodic flavored voice. Frank DiCostanzo and Greg Kurtsman form a talented guitar team, the two contributing a rock solid rhythm guitar sound in addition to a plethora of exciting dual lead guitar work. The steady bass lines of Dale Gilfort stand alongside the technical drumming of John Fowler.
While Rage Of Angels showcases a crystal clear sounding production job, a bit of big budget polish would help bring out the best in its sonics. The rhythm guitar comes across crisp and clean but could have been beefed up in places. A clean mix of rhythm guitar stands alongside a full and heavy sounding low end.
Once "Leave You Or Forsake You" fades in to a blend of rhythm and lead guitar, a plethora of energetic momentum propels it to a non-stop hook filled chorus highlighted by Mariano's raspy vocal delivery. Just under thirty seconds of sharp sounding lead guitar work tops off a song with a message based around Hebrews 13:5:
"I'll never leave you or forsake you
On these words you can depend
I"ll never leave you or forsake you
I'll be with you until the end
"Reason To Rock" proceeds through its first verse in a guitar driven manner before vocal harmonies enter the mix in time to highlight a strong chorus underscored by double bass. DiCostanzo and Kurtsman steal the show with a blazing dual lead guitar trade off supported by more double bass. While its lyrics are a bit on the clichéd side, "Reason To Rock" does not fail to get its point across:
So, let me tell you for your own good
It's gonna leave you in shock
Christ is the reason you live today
And He's the one way to rock...
Taking off to a drum solo, "It's Not Late For Love" progresses to a trade off between the bands trademark vocal harmonies and Mariano's sassy voice. Once the vocal harmonies in question step to the forefront of the mix, they buttress a catchy chorus delivered at an upbeat tempo. A fiery guitar solo helps place the song among the albums more noteworthy material. "It's Not Late For Love" describes a girl forced to live on the streets who learns it is never too late to experience God's love:
Kicked out, running scared
Looking for a place to live...
Open your eyes, look up to the skies
He's waiting there for you
It's not late for love
When it comes from above
The vocal harmonies at the start of "Somebody's Watching You" give way to a high-octane guitar riff that takes it in a spirited fashion to a chorus with a catchy refuse to go away hook. Following a brief but flashy guitar solo, "Somebody's Watching You" slows as Mariano takes center stage and conveys by way of spoken word the songs message of accountability:
Ya know, everyday we take for granted that if we should die
That we would go to heaven
But what we don't realize is that one day
We're gonna have to account for all our doin's
So while you're out partying and living it up
Just remember that no matter where you go
What you say or what you do
Somebody's watching you
After "Hooked On A Good Thing" begins to a drum solo and a bit of bluesy lead guitar work, an abundance of guitar driven momentum drives it to an energy-laden chorus that begs to be played on FM radio. A combination of rhythm and lead guitar bolsters an instrumental passage just under a minute in length. "Hooked On A Good Thing" points to the source of eternal life:
Since You came and made Your connection
My life has turned completely around
You've filled me with Your holy affection
In You eternal life can be found
"Do You Still Believe In Love" stands out with its first class melody line. Introduced to several seconds of tight sounding rhythm guitar harmony, a catchy guitar riff conveys the song at a mid-tempo pace until it peaks for an infectious vocal harmony driven chorus. DiCostanzo and Kurtzman tear it up with a profusion of dual lead guitar work. On "Do You Still Believe In Love" Mariano talks about a former girlfriend who has fallen away from the faith:
Do you still believe in love
Do you still believe in me
Do you still believe in heaven above n' God's holy love
The one thing that sets us both free
Do you still believe in love
Carried from front to back in an upbeat manner by an edgy rhythm guitar and a punchy bass line, "Rock For The Rock" showcases a good hard hitting chorus with lyrics, unfortunately, on the clichéd side:
Lets rock for the Rock
The One that gives us life
Lets rock for the Rock
The One who is the Light
A powerful blend of rhythm and lead guitar carries the instrumental passage of a song that communicates great truth as well:
But still we keep on striving towards the One that grants us grace
If only you would just believe
And realize He died for you
He'd come inside your heart today
And show you love you never knew
The superlative "Are You Ready For Thunder" ranks among the finest power metal numbers this reviewer has heard. Kicking in to an intense double bass driven riff, a plethora of up-tempo energy drives the song ahead until it culminates for a powerfully delivered chorus talking about the rapture:
Are you ready for thunder
When the lighting strikes
If the Lord calls your number
Will you be ready tonight
A minute long instrumental passage opens to tight sounding rhythm guitar harmony that, as it slows, gives way to a crystal clear sounding guitar solo underlined by double bass. Brilliant.
Opening to a scream from Mariano, "Don't Give Up" slows to a bluesy rhythm guitar sound upon reaching its first verse. Gradually gaining impetus, the song transitions to a strong chorus accentuated by just the right amount of vocal harmonies. DiCostanzo and Kurtsman contribute a minute of flashy dual lead guitar work fortified by rapid double bass. "Don't Give Up" has an anti-suicide message:
No chance to see the lights of the city
No time just to walk in the sun
Don't cry there's a reason for living
Break out of this state of depression
Look at the bright side of life
Well, you may not be what they call a socialite
But what will you be at the end of a knife
Don't give up
When you're down and out
While characterized by a solid production job and an abundance of top notch musicianship, Rage Of Angels self-titled debut is ultimately put over the top by the all out raw energy generated by the bands performance. Every track on the album holds up musically; however, "Somebody's Watching You" and "Hooked On A Good Thing" stand out with their up-tempo energy, while "Do You Still Believe In Love" and "Don't Give Up" both showcase catchy melodies land an abundance of dual lead guitar work. "Are You Ready For Thunder", on the other hand, is nothing less than a classic.
Before Regency Records could release the album, however, John Fowler and Frank DiConstanzo left Rage Of Angels to join the mainstream band Steelheart which went on to sign with MCA Records and received significant MTV airplay. Rage Of Angels eventually fell apart with the bands remaining members going their separate ways.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Leave You Or Forsake You" (2:54), "Reason To Rock" (3:55), "It’s Not Late For Love" (4:33), "Somebody’s Watching You" (3:55), "Hooked On A Good Thing" (4:19), "Do You Still Believe In Love?" (4:18), "Rock For The Rock" (4:42), "Are You Ready For Thunder?" (4:12), "Don’t Give Up" (4:09)
Dan Mariano – Lead Vocals
Frank DiCostanzo – Guitars
Greg Kurtsman – Guitars
Dale Gilfort – Bass
John Fowler - Drums
Also Reviewed: Various Artists - East Coast Metal
Van Pelt, Doug. "Angels Gone Bad? A Talk With Raging Angel Dan Mariano." Heaven's Metal 21 (1989): 3-7.
"Metal Tracks." Heaven's Metal 31 (1991): 22.
"White Metal News." White Throne 3 (1987): 20.