Angel - Risen

Angel Risen cover
Cleopatra Records
In all honesty, Angel did exist from 75-81. There were attempts to resurrect the band and compilations and the attempt to get the band restarted in the late 90s (albeit with a different lineup) even released an album under the moniker, which was fair in all honesty. Two decades later another album comes out under the name, featuring Punky Meadows and Frank Dimino and several musicians that have been with them throughout the years.
Now, there are two ways to approach this album. One of them would be to compare it directly to the 70s Angel albums, in which case, it falls… somewhat short in handsight, the use of the name is a bit of a double edged sword. It’s not that “Risen” is a bad album, far from it. But it’s quite more hard rock flavored than some of the material that shot them to fate early on. It’s more “earthly”, more blue collar, if you will. Dimino is still a great singer, but with age his voice has deepened and although, he still sounds cool, he sounds different than he did forty years ago.
Opening up with the intro to “Mr Crowley” – ehm sorry, I meant “Angel Theme Prelude”, is a little odd and it doesn’t even fade into the proper opener “Under the Gun” in any shape or form. The aforementioned tune is sufficiently uplifting and rather direct and works.
“Shot of Your Love” comes complete with cringy shortgun blast and sounds like the illegitimate love child of Angel with Legs Diamond.
“Slow Down” has some British element about it and without being bad, it sounds a little odd.
By “Over My Head” the initial excitement has fizzled up quite significantly, and the quasi anthemic “1975”  takes back probably only original fans that must now be in their 60s or over. It sounds like a semi-decent Journeyknock off.
“We Were the Wild” has a nice somewhat aggressive riff and some drive, but doesn’t really convince and were Angel ever really “wild”?
“IOU” is a nice enough poppy ballad, with a solo that I thought was pretty fitting.
“(Punkys Couch Blues) Locked, Cocked and Ready to Rock” is the sound of being uninspired and had me reaching for a Frank Zappa CD and some hair cream.
“Turn Around” could have been a nice track, but it sounds pretty empty. I dunno if it’s the retro sounding production that sounds clear and sufficiently dynamic, but lacking overall presence is a detracting factor, but I also felt often that there could be big(ger) harmonies.
“Desire” is pretty banal, while “Revolution” fares a little better.
“Tell Me Why” at best sounds like some 60s superstar band, but otherwise… is not that exhilarating, although I did like the idea PM has for a solo, even if it sounds slightly underdeveloped.
“Don’t Want You to Go” is markedly better than all of those, a melodic song that is in tune with the band’s softer moments.
Likewise “Stand Up” with its mid-tempo and simple but effective motifs, is another cool tune.
My Sanctuary” is driven, but a rather sinister, heavier riff, but brightens up for the chorus.
The “hit” from their debut, “The Tower”, is executed here pretty faithfully, but without the impressive panning of the original that made it sound quite thick. Here it all sounds more minimal. Although props to Dimino for managing to do it reasonable justice.
If you’re a longtime fan there might be enough interesting material here to make you happy, but overall this is a good but not a great outing. With two albums in over thirty years, it’s not exactly like Angel are likely to take on the world again, but if it makes some old timers happy, who am I to put them down?!