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Angels of Babylon: Kingdom of Evil

Album Notes

When a new band is called Angels of Babylon and includes ex-members of Manowar (drummer Rhino) and Megadeth (bassist David Ellefson), and has a lead singer whose résumé includes Valhalla and Forgotten Realm (David Fefolt), one assumes that the music is going to be power metal, thrash metal, or progressive metal. It turns out that Kingdom of Evil, Angels of Babylon's debut album, is mostly power metal -- and Ellefson doesn't make any of the thrash or speed metal moves he made during his years with Megadeth. Angels of Babylon are unapologetically old-school in their approach, drawing on influences that include Ronnie James Dio, Savatage, Judas Priest, and Deep Purple; this is a 2010 release that sounds like it could have come out in the late '70s or '80s. And Fefolt is perfect for the job; he favors a gruff vocal style along the lines of Dio, David Coverdale, and Bruce Dickinson. Kingdom of Evil is consistently melodic; the material rocks aggressively but is never flat-out brutal -- and it isn't overly heavy by 21st century standards. Occasionally, Kingdom of Evil steps outside of power metal; "House of Pain," which finds Fefolt performing a male/female vocal duet with singer Jeannie Lavalley, has more of a hard rock/arena rock sound and might have been a hit on album rock stations had it been recorded 25 years earlier. It isn't hard to imagine "House of Pain" being played alongside Heart, Bon Jovi, Winger, or Pat Benatar had the tune come out in 1984 or 1985. But "House of Pain" isn't typical of Kingdom of Evil on the whole; most of the tracks are full-fledged metal rather than hard rock or arena rock. And while this derivative effort isn't earth-shattering, it's a decent, worthwhile listen if one is a die-hard fan of '70s and '80s metal. ~ Alex Henderson



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