Secrets of Angels
Review by G. W. Hill
I’ve always liked this band. This new album, though, might be the best yet from them. If you dig their brand of modern progressive rock with both metal and classic prog elements, you wil most certainly like this. It just doesn’t get much better.The back cover lists a DVD, but my promo copy didn’t include it, so I can’t comment on that part of this album.
|Track by Track Review|
|Road to Cairo|
Coming in quite symphonic, this turns out to powerful progressive rock. I love the soaring approach of the vocals. I also love that they don’t sacrifice rocking for that quality. This is such a great opening salvo. It’s got an almost metallic element at its core, but no one would ever deny that this is progressive rock. There’s a foray toward world music mid-track. Then it drops way down for the next bit of vocals. We’re back into the song proper quickly after that, though.
|Because of You|
This starts with more powerhouse symphonic prog. It drops to a mellower approach for the verse. That section calls to mind Renaissance. They bring it back upward from there, though. This song combines an accessible vocal performance, soaring musical concepts and a lot more to create another winner. I’d have to say, though, that the guitar solo wanders a bit towards “noodly” to me. If there’s anything about this song that I’d change, that would be it.
While this is definitely progressive rock, it wanders pretty far toward European epic metal. The vocal arrangement and the whole song structure are very much in that kind of sound. Of course, that genre has a lot of progressive rock built into it. This number throws the balance more towards the prog rock end. This is more straightforward than the first two songs. It’s no less effective, though. I really love the vocal arrangement later, and the bits of keyboard that soar over the top in those later sections, too.
Piano starts this. The vocals come over the top, begging comparisons to both epic metal and the band Renaissance. This stays on the mellower side of things for a while, but eventually gets some crunch and powerful symphonic prog built into it. There is a drop back to mellower, symphonic territory mid-track. When they come out of that, I think the vocal progression is one of the best of the whole album. In fact, that section is one of my favorite musical passages here. It’s just so powerful.
This definitely has the kind of energy one expects from epic metal. The overall sound, though, is more progressive rock based. It’s a powerful song that works through with a real driving intensity. Yet, it also has the symphonic qualities and beauty you expect from this band. It resolves to a piano and vocal movement late in the number. That adds a lot to the number, too.
I really love this song. It’s mellower than the rest of the material here. It actually is what you might consider a power ballad. It’s quite symphonic and manages to rock out later, too. The vocal performance nearly steals the show. It’s a tribute to the strength of the songwriting that it doesn’t. This is one of my favorite songs of the year, really. It’s that good.
|Feels Like Home|
Although there is a little crunch at times, there is no metal in this song at all. It’s pure progressive rock. It’s more of a power ballad, too. The song structure is simpler than some of the other stuff, and really it’s how it’s adorned that makes is both special and progressive rock oriented. This is another song where the vocals really shine. In fact, that’s what makes this song as magical as it is. Honestly, though, this isn’t the best song here.
|Secrets of Angels|
The title track starts mellow with a very Celtic kind of approach. It gradually builds outward, with the second verse a bit more intense than the first. It rocks a bit more by the third verse. After that verse, it gets brought all the way into the symphonic rocking zone in an instrumental movement. That intensity is retained as the vocals return. They keep going in rocking fashion, building up for a while. Then it peaks and they drop it to a very mellow movement. Soaring, non-lyrical, vocals are heard over the top of that. Then the cut works to a very symphonic, fast paced movement with a lot of hard rock built into it. This all goes to prove that this epic not just in length, but also in scope. It gets quite powerful and symphonically rocking as it continues to push forward. Eventually we’re brought into more pure driving prog rock. That section takes it to around the twelve minute mark. Some Celtic, mellower music takes over for a time there. Then they burst back out into powerful symphonic prog to continue. It works through with a mainstream, but soaring progressive rock concept, shifting and changing before eventually taking it out around the twenty minute mark. It’s an extremely powerful and effective way to end the album.
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