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Articles Home » 1975 Articles » Angel - 1975 Angel
Angel - 1975 Angel

ALBUM: Angel
LABEL: Casablanca
YEAR: 1975
CD REISSUE: 1994, Mercury, 314 510 955-2 * 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY153


LINEUP: Frank Dimino - all vocals * Punky Meadows - all guitars * Greg Giuffria - organ, piano, clavinet, harpsichord, mellotron, string ensemble, all synthesizers * Mickey Jones - bass * Barry Brandt - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tower * 02 Long Time * 03 Rock And Rollers * 04 Broken Dreams * 05 Mariner * 06 Sunday Morning * 07 On And On * 08 Angel (Theme)


Despite overtly commercial fare such as 'White Hot' and 'Sinful' and their penchant for rather dubious stage clothing (sorry guys white satin jumpsuits were never de rigeur even in the mid 1970's), it should not be forgotten that Washington DC's finest were first and foremost, pomp rock supremos. Their debut is regarded by many as one of, if not, THE greatest, pomp rock albums of all time. Even some 30 years later it still slays the majority of the competition stone dead, and you'd be hard pushed to think of any band operating in the same genre who achieved this kind of quality on their first attempt.

The Songs
Angel were brimming with musical ability (though not sartorial elegance) and the debut provided a platform on which to display these talents. It's a glorious amalgam of thunderous drumming, savage guitar, staggering keyboard playing and soaring vocals which adds up to an abundance of grandiose musical passages. From the moment you hear Greg's Guiffria's swirling keyboards together with Punky Meadows' heavy duty riffing erupting from the speakers on 'Tower' you know you are hearing the start of something truly special. With 'Tower', Angel effectively created the template for the classic pomp rock song - atmospheric brooding verses dovetailed together seamlessly with bombastic overblown choruses and dynamic instrumentation. 'Long Time' is in a similar extravagant vein with Messrs Dimino and Giuffria running the show to start with, until Punky Meadows steps in at the midpoint delivering some doom-laden riffing and a brutal guitar solo almost on a par with Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. The song is rounded off with some tasteful harpsichord playing(!). By comparison 'Rock & Rollers' is a straight forward pile driving hard rock song but still embellished with Greg Giuffria's distinctive keyboards - for once his histrionics are kept to a minimum. The heavy pomp attack continues over on side two with the decidedly morose 'Broken Dreams' (someone didn't have a happy childhood!!), though with enough pyrotechnics to please budding air guitarists and keyboard players alike. In stark contrast the ballad 'Mariner' has sparse instrumentation consisting predominantly of Frank Dimino's plaintive soaring vocals, and Greg Giuffria's piano - certainly the closest Angel come to obvious hit single material on this album. However this is only a brief respite from the aural pomp bombast of 'Sunday Morning' (which evokes the sword 'n 'sorcery images of 'Tower') and 'On and On'. The brief instrumental 'Angel Theme' which rounds off the album is really just another excuse to show off Giuffria's obvious talents.

In Summary
The subsequent album 'Helluva Band' was to be the last of Angel's pomp pretensions before they moved in a more radio friendly direction. Needless to say both albums should be considered essential purchases for anyone wanting to discover the pomp rock genre.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 21 2006 02:55:33
This is Dave Reynolds' (ex Kerrang, Metal Forces, and current Classic Rock writer) favorite album of all time, followed closely by Starz 1st and Legs Diamond 1st. Cool
#2 | sabace on March 23 2006 13:52:24
I like this lp a lot but I think it is over rated, no way is it the best lp of all time!
#3 | Jokerdean on March 27 2006 17:04:36
This is a killer release..I like Helluva Band Better.....
#4 | Jez on January 27 2007 11:24:14
Class is class, and this is just that. They never bettered this one in my opinion, although later releases like 'White Hot' and 'Sinful' were great releases aswell, albeit alot more poppy in their direction. This is just pure Pomp of the highest order. Anyone wanting to know what Pomp is all about, just give 'The Tower' a spin then it will all become clear. My other fave on here is 'Mariner', although there isn't any bad track on this. A genre defining classic release.
#5 | Eric on June 20 2007 22:49:09
A masterwork of rock music before the term 'pomp' was even coined. In the mid-70's, when I was a teenager (yes, I am that old) Angel had a big following in my High School among those of us 'In The Know'. Like Starz, they were a band way cooler than Frampton, Fleetwood Mac and Chicago, even Kiss, and in the pre-Van Halen debut days they were the water (insert Beer or a Doobie) in a hard rock drought.
#6 | DEMONAOR on July 16 2008 15:51:44
Great album
#7 | gdazegod on August 09 2009 14:22:10
Can I guess again Reyno, is it this album that will be reissued by Rock Candy? cheerleader
#8 | rkbluez on June 16 2012 03:02:58
Dave's got some good taste...yeah this one is a classic...never get sick of listening to great stuff like this.
#9 | MNWild87 on April 17 2013 02:23:42
Pomp prog at it's finest. The tower is flat out amazing and then they kick it in even more with Long Time
#10 | aaasreg on August 08 2014 22:29:36
Jack Douglas should have produced that album. Nevertheless a top release.
#11 | reyno-roxx on May 14 2016 07:58:55
Angel actually wanted to use Jack Douglas on the next studio record after 'Sinful'. Casablanca wouldn't front the money. At this point Frank decided to split and go to work with Giorgio Moroder.
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