Label: Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: December 4, 2015
Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur
Melodic AOR will always be a mainstay in my CD collection – yes, I still collect CD’s. Daniel Flores and Robbie Lablanc teamed up a couple years ago and cranked out a killer debut that required a strong follow up disc – and they got it with Dark Angel. Opening track “Nowhere To Hide” brings all the weapons of the previous disc, along with a little harder edge, giving this song major attitude and strength. This is how you open a collection of new songs – with searing leads and soaring vocals. “Let Love Rule” comes at you like a rhythm heavy Journey track, but keeps a little darker feel in the bottom end. The vocals from Lablanc carry the track, while the guitars and keyboard swirl in the mix. “Another Day” is another song that comes charging from the first notes and keeps the tempo upbeat. Angelica Rylin pitches in additional vocals on the track, giving it a lighter touch at times. “Bleed In The Rain” kicks off with a keyboard-guitar combo that leads the way and allows the vocals to join the fray creating a killer layered sound on this great power ballad. “Where Do I Go” seems to shine its light on the keyboards, with Lablancs vocals giving the song depth and texture. The guitars soon kick in and give the song a bit of bite. “Don’t Slip Away” is a favorite that isn’t a powerhouse rocker, but simply satisfies from open to close with consistent guitars chugging while the vocals take flight and draw you into the tracks lyrics. Flores’ drums give an edge at the chorus and bridge.
“Forever” is as strong an AOR ballad as any released over the last few years. The keyboards and piano from Sören Kronqvist steer the track through the emotional seas of the lyrics, delivered perfectly by Lablanc. Title track “Dark Angel” features all of the melodic goodness of keyboards and vocals, but the mixture of chugging guitars and lofty riffs from Philip Lindstrand throughout give this song a different feel, while fitting perfectly in the tracklist. “Face To Face” gives the drums from Daniel Flores a bit of room to run and shine, as the sound is enhanced by different fills while the tempo is perfectly controlled. The cadence of this track keeps the foot tapping. “Midnight Memories” is a great song that brings the different sounds of the vocals, guitars, and keyboards together with a bit of bass and some heavy handed drums, swirling to a head at the chorus. “Did You Feel Any Love” takes all of the cool parts of other tracks on this disc and seems to swirl them into a single track – from the chugging riffs and big vocals to the full drum sound and solid keyboards. The disc closer is an awesome cover of the Footloose track “I’m Free (Heaven Helps the Man)” originally recorded by Kenny Loggins. While Lablanc delivers the vocals with precision, there are a couple moments during the track when I swear I can hear Loggins in the mix. Adding their own touch to the song, this version brings a little heavier sound from the guitars and keyboards.
Tracklisting: Nowhere To Hide – Let Love Rule – Forever – Another Day – Dark Angel – Bleed In The Rain – Face To Face – Where Do I Go – Midnight Memories – Don’t Slip Away – Did You Feel Any Love – I’m Free
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