Archon Angel is a symphonic power metal band formed around the not inconsiderable vocal talent of Savatage/Circle II Circle man Zachary Stevens. He’s one of the most recognisable voices in the power/symphonic metal spheres, and so of course it’s unsurprising that this album features many tracks that will sound pretty familiar to long-term fans of the man and his bands.
Songwriting duties for the project fall to Stephens and musical foil Aldo Lonobile, who’s a new name to me but some of you may know from the bands Secret Sphere or Death SS, among others. The two set themselves the task of writing an album in the style of Savatage’s Gutter Ballet and Edge of Thorns albums, and, even though there are no songs here that match the peak performances on those landmark releases, there are at least a fair few tracks that’ll get the head nodding if you consider yourself a diehard Zak fan.
Faces of Innocence, the best track featured, is a nice piece of melodic radio metal, carried by a supremely earnest vocal performance and one of the best guitar solos you’ll hear all year from Lonobile. It’s probably no coincidence that this is also one of the most obviously ‘Savatage’ songs of all the tracks on the sequence.
Hit The Wall also fulfills that requirement, sounding perhaps like a sort of sequel to Skraggy’s Tomb from Edge of Thorns. Props also in this field must go to the closing song on Fallen, Return of the Storm, which at nearly seven and a half minutes is not only the album’s only real epic but also features Stephens in legendary ‘counterpoint’ mode, giving this track a real line back to classics like Chance from the 1994 Savatage album Handful of Rain.
In summary, I have to say that this is a really strong album overall, and possibly better than I was expecting. The Stevens and Lonobile pairing are apparently looking at putting some live shows together, having already played the 70000 Tons of Metal Cruise, which is great news, and I for one will be there in Dallas to cheer the guys on If they make it to Texas!
Fallen is out now.