Angel Blake

Angel Blake

Metal Blade, 2006‎

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


As anyone who has been reading my 30/30 series has picked up on, I'm looking for music with intelligent lyrics, smart musicianship, vocals I can understand and a sense of surprise. Rehashed riffs, digital editing, stupid screaming and more are for suckers. I need the total compelling package.

Which I'm happy to report Angel Blake is.

Typically, one- or two-person acts tend to be studio creations, laying down one track on another and editing it into a song, stripping it of any organic feeling. Yet although Angel Blake is two people -- Marko Tervonen is given credit for "Instruments" and Tony Jelencovich is given credit for "vocals" -- one doesn't get this feeling.

In fact, I listened to this thing five times the first time I heard it. Yes, the production is amazing, but the instruments have intricate interaction with each other and each instrument sounds like a master played it. "The Force," for example, is a standard 4/4 rocker, starting with an acoustic guitar for four measures and then bringing in electric guitar with a different melody. The two guitars play together for eight more measures after which the drums enter with authority. Before long, the double bass kicks in with occasional tom fills. The tempo is not ultra-fast and Tervonen is not playing speed metal to impress anyone; this is mid-tempo, tap-your-foot, groove-oriented heavy metal, in the "Enter Sandman" vein. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The lyrics are cryptically interesting and often self-motivational. "Self-Terminate" sounds the most like a pep rally when Jelencovich sings "I've served a lifetime in this hell / I'm trying to become alive." In "Retaliate," he speaks to someone and tells that person that "ways to live are always easy to pretend / Can't you see my friend tonight it doesn't end / feed the spark of life." What a change of pace to have a metal 'band' sing about living and enjoying life!

When the familiar lyrics of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" kick in, with a thrash metal guitar leading the charge, it sounds like Jelencovich is singing the perfect song for his vocal range. He doesn't strain by trying to hit notes outside of his range. He doesn't take liberties with the lyrics. He simply nails his performance.

The final track "Till The End" is the counterweight to the hopefulness in "Retaliate." The brooding Jelencovich notes that "Can't feel the world around me / Too deep of wounds to heal / . . . / The songs of sorrow fills me / Can't feel the world around me" before ending the release with the lyrics "Too late to heal the wounds." So, Angel Blake leaves you with their final thought: this speaker, who could urge others to 'retaliate' and live life, ultimately cannot convince himself to do the same. It is testimony to the human tendency to encourage others while finding fault within our own selves.

As such, the words are timeless, and the music is just great. Definitely worth your time if you can find this disc.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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