Released by: Escape Music
Release date: 26th February 2016
Genre: Melodic Rock
Ged Rylands – Keyboards and Guitars(Tyketto and ex-Ten)
Rob Moratti – Lead Vocals (Solo Artist, Final Frontiers, and ex-SAGA)
Neil Fraser – Lead Guitars (exTen)
Chris Green – Lead Guitars (Tyketto and Rubicon Cross)
Martin Kronlund – Lead Guitars (Gypsy Rose)
Perra Johannsen – Drums (Coldspell)
Chris Goldsmith – Bass (Coldspell)
01. Rage of Angels
02. All You Own Way
03. The Devil’s New Tricks
04. One Step Closer
05. Strangers In The Night
06. Love Will Never Die
07. In And Out Of Love
08. I Feel It In My Heart
09. Stop Changing The TV
10. Long Days Without You
Rage of Angels sophomore effort is something very special indeed. Whilst the début included a who’s who of melodic rock royalty providing guest vocals on each of the tracks, this is a far stronger more streamlined release that benefits from Rob Moratti being front and centre on each of the 10 tracks on offer.
The brainchild of original Ten keyboard player Ged Rylands, Rage of Angels is shaping up to be a melodic rock tour de force. Having played with Ten on their first three studio albums as well as the double live CD ‘Never Say Goodbye’, it’s fair to say that Ged was with Ten at their very finest and thus knows what a quality rock album sounds like.
With a ten year break that saw Ged raising his daughter alone, he returned to the music scene by guesting on several albums including Lover Under Cover, before joining Tyketto in 2012 as a touring member of the band (now full-time member).
I digress however, as the key thing to note is that his return delivered the stunning Rage of Angels début ‘Dreamworld’. There are few of us that attended festivals like Firefest that didn’t recognise the obvious talent on show with that album and it remains a firm favourite in AOR circles.
The new album with, as noted, Moratti on vocals, opens with a blistering track named after the band ‘Rage of Angels’. I defy anyone to avoid stomping feet, banging heads and singing along at the top of their voices during the chorus. “Anthemic” does not do the track justice but, suffice to say, it will be a belter of a track when played live. Firefest 2016 anyone???
The keyboard work on ‘All Your Own Way’ has a feel at times of classic A-Ha (yep them! but think about it… Scandinavian bands do tend to be pretty good don’t they? Check your CD collection in the melodic rock section!) The guitar work however is a world apart from Morten Harket & Co. and although Ged plays all the rhythm guitars on the album, the leads are supplied again by Neil Fraser (ex Ten) with Tyketto/Furyon guitarist Chris Green also chipping in with 6 solos. Keeping it all in the family clearly works well as the quality of the polish that comes with the album could put Mr Sheen out of business.
The title track opens with a luscious guitar and drum laden (thanks to Perra Johannsen) groove underpinned again by Ged’s keyboard work which adds a layer of warmth to the song. Moratti excels helping build from hook to chorus holding and extending notes beautifully.
The rockier edge of the this album in comparison to the début continues with ‘One Step Closer’ and then we get ‘Strangers in the Night’ with keyboard intro akin to the experimental synth work Pete Townsend delivered on ‘Baba O’Reilly’. The rest of the track however is classic AOR and is up there with the best of the genre now and then.
The format continues well with ‘In And Out of Love’ building nicely like a rocket about to launch until the lead guitars kick in with a blistering solo. ‘Long Days Without You’ brings a feel of classic Foreigner to proceedings and if released as a single 25 years ago would have seen the band rise to the top of the charts with ease, followed shortly by arena headlining tours. Nowadays, it’s a tougher slog but at some point we can only hope that the balance will be restored.
To sum it up, ‘The Devils New Tricks’ represents a definite leap forward for Rage of Angels. The classy début was hampered slightly by the use of too many guest (albeit impressive) vocalists which prevented the band gaining an identity of its own. By focussing on a single vocalist this time around and working as a single unit, the band have delivered a fantastic slab of melodic rock.
Highly, highly recommended.
Written by: Adrian Hextall
Ratings: Adrian 9/10