Let’s break a lance for Heavy Metal. Since NWoBHM left the building, this style kinda went out of fashion. Call me a snob, but I still relish the times when metal was easy. You didn’t have to worry about a gazillion of silly styles that the fucking purists of the movement dearly wish to imprint on ye.
So, the RMR deck crew really relishes every band that still navigates in the goodies the ’80s brought forward, when Hard Rock grew stale and the new metal was sexy. The Norwegians from Ghost Avenue are one of those bands.
You know, the outfit that went by the moniker Ghost some time ago, but was knocked on the head by these idiots around Papa Emeritus1). And so, they were forced to find themselves a new badge of honor. But, hey, that’s so much water under the bridge, it almost ain’t true anymore.
The mighty RMR review pipe already coughed this band up once before for their album Impact. And – I daresay – that this shock and awe thing somehow went by the wayside on this one. It surely isn’t a bad record, but not one that did set our socks on fire neither.
So, here we started with some trepidation on their fourth studio album Even Angels Fail. And as it’s hot outside and the beer’s cold, we yearned for some simple2) fare. Meaty, spicy, and just mouth-watering, well-broiled metal. Like that T-Bone on the BBQ that needs to come off, or it’ll get burned.
And this is what we got.
The remnants from the ’80s are just that thing the doctor orders from time to time. And this time Ghost Avenue pretty much pulled out the stops. Finally, we find some real meat on these bones, with that steam machine on full bore. Right off the first note, Even Angels Fail made us take heed. This is what we were looking for on their former record, but didn’t quite find.
And make no mistake, the band did not go where no-one went before, or lose themselves in the sugary glam metal soundscapes some wannabe Heavy Metal bands seem to prefer to this day. On the contrary, Ghost Avenue stayed on that road paved with them old potholes of the past.
It’s that mix of late Dio3), Krokus, Iron Maiden and AC/DC4) that really carries this metal battle. A mix of tasty Heavy Metal and Hard Rock pieces, stellar solos, and some rare forays into wah-wah country, believe it or not.
Best of the Best leads away in best Saxon fashion. Some smallish cheesy intro at first, and off they go with some prime Heavy Metal. This is one ballbreaker piece of metal, one that will get the crowd to lava temperatures, once they play that the piece live.
But Even Angels Fail contains still more of those golden nuggets. The Fallen for instance get you a slightly thrashy version of good old Heavy Metal with some energy to boot. Well, if you need a track to fire up your headbanging genes, then this is the one. Speedier than most, a chorus to dream of and a truly juicy solo somewhere in the middle for added spice.
And it is not that the other tracks are bad, far from it. Yet, Even Angels Fail does suffer from the repetition bug somewhat. Even if Heavy Metal suffered from that disease forever and a day. It is difficult to inject variation in your tune if your options are pretty limited. On the other hand, it’s also a source for comfort.
Yet again, the inherent powerful pull of Wasted Generation is just too juicy to ignore. Or A Violent Disturbance of the Peace with its faux mid-tempo airs, embedded on a number of irresistible downturned riffs. This one really showcases the powerful structure that an artful bass contribution brings to the table. This goes way beyond what the usual Hard Rock bass dude provides. And it shows.
And what Heavy Metal record can really exist without that trademark galloping sound? None, and Even Angels Fail is no different. Northman, that nod to the Vikings, services that specific nook with a greatly varied track. Although it does sail awfully close to maidenesque delights we already enjoyed before. But what can I say, boys will be boys, right?
And you know what? I really appreciated that they’re not walking too much on eggs. Their lyrics really reflect the style they chose. Nothing out of control, mind you, but the stuff they strut is corny enough to please rough-hewn metal ears like yours truly’s.
And you ain’t seen nothing yet until you hit on Even Angels Fail, the title track. At first, I grew a bit worried about the length of the track. But boy, Ghost Avenue push that one forward at a brisk pace, just after the acoustic intro ceases.
In the end, Even Angels Fail delivers exactly what the band promised. A mix of ’80s style Heavy Metal with some Hard Rock scattered about the soundscape. Only this time, Ghost Avenue truly hit that metallic power button, and hard. Compared to the former offering, this album really kicks it up a few notches. There is nothing untidy or watery about the record anymore. Or in other words, if they had played this piece in the ’80, the charts would have started to overheat.
This is a record that truly warmed our cold metal hearts. A chunk of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal that we can wholeheartedly recommend. You should try some, too.
Ed’s note: Fancy something similar? Well, Ironflame may be to your taste, too. Check it out.
Record Rating: 7/10 | Label: Self-Released | Web: Official Band Site
Album Release: 7 August 2020
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|1||Tobias Forge is the name if you must know. And filing silly lawsuits is probably the only thing (today’s) Ghost are good at, unless you’re a total fanboy. Just sayin’.|
|2||Note: Simple = good. We don’t need abject complexity all the time.|
|3||Not sure if that’s a good thing, though.|
|4||Yep, you heard that right. No whining that they’re not metal, please.|