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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » American Angel - 2007 Vanity
American Angel - 2007 Vanity

ARTIST: American Angel
ALBUM: Vanity
LABEL: Chavis Records
YEAR: 2007


LINEUP: Rocco Fury - vocals * Dennos Zehrer - guitars * Mike Biscula - guitars * Jay Drzuba - bass * Eric Ragno - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 While I'm Away * 02 Pantomind * 03 Vanity * 04 On The Hunt * 05 Seven * 06 Warm Inside * 07 Don't Wait Up * 08 Breathe * 09 In Perfection * 10 End Of The Night * 11 Another Day * 12 Turns To Grey * 13 Permanent Pause * 14 Don't Wait Up (Remix)



This long awaited album marks American Angel's first new studio outing since 1992's 'E.P.', although the impact is diluted to some extent with Fury being the only member remaining from the original lineup which produced the much admired 1989 debut. Having never heard that particular album it's hard to say if times have changed or not for Fury and co, but I'm willing to bet my house that they haven't at all. 'Vanity' is so steeped in the rites of the late 80's hard rock scene that you'll wonder where the last eighteen years went. For Fury it may as well still be 1989, as this is as close in spirit as you'll come to the long lost days of the 80's when the band were first poised to break through. The guitars are rougher than they probably were in 89 but that's about it surely. Every tried and true manoeuvre from the halcyon days are thrown in here, resulting in a first rate recording that for Chavis Records is an astute signing.

The Songs
At thirteen tracks this is a marathon and trying to break down all of them would be foolish, they all have that vibe of the 80's and for those who wondered what route American Angel would take, now you know. No radical departures whatsoever. Eric Ragno is a fine addition to the band, most recently a member of Vox Tempus, and his keyboard intro 'While I'm Away' kicks into 'Pantomind', the first soaring rocker on offer. Big riffs, high pitched harmonies in abundance here, setting a good tone. The title track for my money is the best track, taking a host of melodic twists, and the background keyboards really heighten the sense of drama. 'On The Hunt' is a standard party rock workout, the raunch of the riffs having been heard a thousand times over before, but as this is 2007 it's somewhat of a novelty. Ultra ballad 'Warm Inside' would have been top ten material an age ago, and Fury's vocals take on a real Sebastian Bach tinge. Amazing just how much this turns back the clock to 1990. 'Turns To Grey' had me thinking Icon temporarily due some similar riffs and 'Don't Wait Up' is the sound of Ratt in their prime, cranking out the swank of Aerosmith with a plethora of horns and sharp synth bursts. There's room for a slice of modern rock, 'Permanent Pause' high on grunge stifled melody lines. It's the only such moment, and isn't as bad as it sounds. Elsewhere it's mostly a consistent set of worthy hard rock that belies and honestly makes a mockery of what's considered acceptable for rock acts these days. Fury deserves a round of applause for staying true to a genre still beaten like a dog to the present day.

In Summary
Suffice to say American Angel are back in a big way and this should do well based on the reputation the band picked up with their cult debut. The part that should appeal is that there's nothing here except 80's hard rock exactly the way it sounded then. If that doesn't appeal to hard rock fans nothing will. There's not much of an AOR presence, the ballads not moving in that direction, more of an acoustic type of fare. But the melody is there as is the overall sense of professionalism and if you overlook the fact Fury is the lone survivor then there's a lot to be happy with here. Great vocalist and a superb comeback.

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#1 | dangerzone on December 12 2007 01:50:58
It must be pointed out that 'On The Hunt' is a cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd track. Somehow I missed that when I reviewed this.
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