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Sunday, November 10, 2013

CD-Review: Angelica - "Thrive"

The Swedish singer Angelica Rylin is the head of the femal-fronted Metal band The Murder Of My Sweet. Many people see this band as some kind of offspring from bands like Nightwisch and Delain. Just three years after the formation of her main band, Angelica decided to release a first solo album and first of all here is a big warning to all fans of The Murder Of My Sweet and the other acts I mentioned above: "Thrive" is not that kind of solo album you would expect from Angelica - it is a totally different genre, a pure AOR album. Let's see if this works.

Angelica designates Robin Beck, Ann Wilson (Heart) and Leigh Matty (Romeo's Daugther) as her heroes and main influences on this record and yes, she succeeds very well to transport this 80's mood in each song on the record. Tons of cheesy keyboards, vocal harmonies and polished guitars provide the right feeling.
Sadly that is all Angelica has in common with her idols, because vocally she can't keep up with a Robin Beck and others. That doesn't mean she sounds bad. She is a talented singer, but those big rock legends have a bit more class and sound more original than Angelica does. Overall she makes a really good figure on the microphone.

Also the songmaterial itself doesn't remind me so much at those big names in female fronted rock. Angelica tries very hard to copy that sound, and sometimes it works quiet well (for example on the cool retro track "Nothing Else You Can Break"), but most of the time the songmaterial reminds me much more at the albums Issa (Overseen) did with Frontiers Records in recent years. Even when I look at the cover artwork it seems like the label wants to present some kind of follow-up to the Issa albums. Yes and also here I can say I liked the stuff from Issa much more. That's for one reason only: she had the better hooks and more remarkable melodies.
Although much songwriters like Harry Hess, Robert Sall, Alessandro Del Vecchio and Anders Wigelius contributed songs to "Thrive", the whole thing sounds very repetitive at times. I liked songs like "Breaking My Heart" and "Riding Out The Storm" with their nice chorus lines, but it's enough to listen to 5 songs and then you know the rest. That's why it gets a bit boring, especially in the second half of the album. The very polished production, which focuses on the sugar-sweet Keyboards ensures also that the songmaterial wears out very quickly. The production itself (handled by Angelicas band mate Daniel Flores) sounds also a bit tinny.

So while the songmaterial and production are just solid, the musicians are top notch. You'll get to hear guitarists such as Jesper Stromblad (In Flames), Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear), Per Berquist (Smash Into Pieces) and a very special performance by keyboardist Matt Guillory (James LaBrie).

So is this album a must-have in your Rock/Metal collection? Surely not, but it's worth a listen for AOR fanatics, who can't get enough of 80's driven Melodic Rock, which is very cheesy and stereotypically at times. Fans of The Murder Of My Sweet should listen first, because otherwise they will get a bitter surprise.
Another solid one in the endlessly list of AOR releases this year, but nothing that stands out of the mass.



01. Breaking My Heart *
02. I Am Strong
03. To Your Rescue
04. Can't Stop Love
05. Nothing Else You Can Break *
06. Riding Out The Storm *
07. Rain On My Parade
08. Losers In Paradise
09. You Will Never Win
10. This Kiss Is Just For You
11. I'm Not Waiting
12. Take Me To Your Heart

* best tracks

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