RAGE OF ANGELS – The Devil’s New Tricks [Japanese Edition] (2016)
“The Devil’s New Tricks” is the follow up to the critically acclaimed RAGE OF ANGELS debut from two years ago, to be released by Escape Music next February 26. This Japanese edition features the exclusive bonus track “What Matters Most Of All”
For those of you who don’t know RAGE OF ANGELS (shame on you) is the creation of the original TEN keyboard player Ged Rylands, who played on their first studio albums. Since then Ged has busied himself with a number of projects as well as guesting on a multitude of studio albums and is now a full-time member of Tyketto.
In the meantime, he founded Rage Of Angels, which debut album featured a team of outstanding vocalists including Danny Vaughn (Tyketto), Harry Hess (Harem Scarem), Ralph Scheepers (Primal Fear), Matti Alfonzetti and Robert Hart which gave the whole release more of a project feel than that of a band.
Whilst that debut included a who’s who of melodic rock royalty providing guest vocals on each of the tracks, “The Devil’s New Tricks” is a far stronger, more streamlined release that benefits from Rob Moratti being front and centre on each of the 10 tracks on offer (11 on this Japanese release).
The new album opens with a blistering track named after the band ‘R.O.A. – Rage of Angels’. I defy anyone to avoid stomping feet, banging heads and singing along at the top of their voices during the chorus. ‘Anthemic Melodic Rock’ does not do the track justice but, suffice to say, it will be a belter of a track when played live.
The keyboard work on ‘All Your Own Way’ has a Scandi-AOR feel, but the guitar work however is sharp and rocking, with the vocals adding a wonderful melodious line. The solos on the record are supplied by Neil Fraser (ex Ten), the great Martin Kronlund, and with Tyketto / Furyon guitarist Chris Green also chipping in with 6 leads.
Keeping it all in the family clearly works well as the quality of the polish that comes with the album could put Mr Sheen out of business.
The title track opens with a luscious guitar and drum laden (courtesy of Swede Perra Johannsen from Coldspell) groove underpinned again by Ged’s keyboard work which adds a layer of warmth to the song. Moratti excels helping build from hook to chorus holding and extending notes beautifully.
The rockier edge of the this album in comparison to the debut continues with ‘One Step Closer’ and then we get ‘Strangers in the Night’ with keyboard intro akin to the experimental synth work Pete Townsend delivered on ‘Baba O’Reilly’. The rest of the track however is classic AOR and is up there with the best of the genre now and then.
The format continues well with ‘In And Out of Love’ building nicely like a rocket about to launch until the lead guitars kick in with a blistering melodic rock solo.
‘Long Days Without You’ brings a feel of classic Foreigner to proceedings and if released as a single 25 years ago would have seen the band rise to the top of the charts with ease, followed shortly by arena headlining tours.
This Japan Edition features the bonus track ‘What Matters Most Of All’, and really worth the investment purchasing this Asian CD, as this track is a terrific slice of pumping Melodic Rock plenty of keys and harmony vocals.
To sum it up, “The Devils New Tricks” represents a definite leap forward for Rage Of Angels.
The classy debut was hampered slightly by the use of too many guest (albeit impressive) vocalists which prevented the band gaining an identity of its own.
By focusing on a single vocalist this time around and working as a single unit, Rage Of Angels have delivered a fantastic slab of Melodic Rock / AOR plenty of magic.
Highly, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
2. All You Own Way
3. The Devil’s New Tricks
4. One Step Closer
5. Strangers In The Night
6. Love Will Never Die
7. In And Out Of Love
8. I Feel It In My Heart
9. Stop Changing The TV
10. Long Days Without You
11. What Matters Most Of All (Japan Bonus Track)
Rob Moratti – Vocals (Final Frontier, ex-SAGA)
Ged Rylands – Keyboards, Rhythm Guitars (Tyketto, ex-Ten)
Neil Fraser – Guitars (ex-Ten)
Chris Green – Guitars (Tyketto, Rubicon Cross)
Martin Kronlund – Guitars (Gypsy Rose)
Chris Goldsmith – Bass (Coldspell)
Perra Johannsen – Drums (Coldspell)
Mixed and Mastered: Martin Kronlund
BUY IT !