Rock Eyez

Y Z #

To submit your
material for
review contact

Get Firefox!

eXTReMe Tracker
American Angel
Chavis Records -
Hard Rock
Mark Balogh
4.0 stars

Vanity is DEFINITELY my favorite sin!

That’s a line from the title track of the new AMERICAN ANGEL release and I could see some people thinking that way about this record—AMERICAN ANGEL’s first of all new material since 1992.

When AMERICAN ANGEL reformed a couple years ago and the only original member was singer Rocco Fury, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the group. Being a long-time fan I thought it would be cool to see the band in concert and hear the old songs again. They added a new song to their show back at that time named “Turns To Grey” and I was impressed with the song because it had a vintage AMERICAN ANGEL sound and it fit nicely alongside the group’s earlier material. There was talk of a new album back then so this record certainly seemed to be a long time coming, but now that it’s here, it turns out to be a great addition to the AMERICAN ANGEL catalog.

Upon first listen, the thing I realized was the band seemed to stay true to their sound of the past. After all, it’s been 15 years since they last released an album and they certainly had every right to sound different from what the fans remembered. Also, there was just the one member, in Fury, left from original lineup and that could have had a huge hand in changing their sound too. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear the style and quality of the songs featured on “Vanity.” It really was pretty much just as good as it’s been on their previous releases!

The record starts out with a track titled “While I’m Away” which is basically a piano/spoken word introduction segueing into track two, “Pantomind”, which gets the album off to a proper start with its building pace and soaring chorus. For some reason I really like the way the drum track is played behind the chorus. It’s a subtle yet interesting arrangement as the drums “halt” momentarily while the chorus pushes through.

The title track “Vanity” is up next and this song is another winner with a great hook, and is about as vintage to the AMERICAN ANGEL sound as you can get! The song almost sounds like it could have been lifted from their previous release (“EP ’92 ”).

Following the great double-shot of “Pantomind” and “Vanity” the songs “On The Hunt” and “Seven” are up next. These two tracks have a similar mid-paced sound and probably aren’t the most memorable of the album. I think if they had not been tracked back to back, they may have worked a little bit better. They are not bad songs but they just don’t stand up to the quality of the first two offerings. At this point, I had a little reason for concern as what if those first two songs were the best the new record had to offer? Well read on because things definitely get brought back up to speed immediately!

The next track, “Warm Inside” is possibly the strongest song on the album. It’s an acoustic based ballad of sorts with a great arrangement and some warm sounding vocals from Rocco Fury. AMERICAN ANGEL has a great knack for layering their backing vocals and making them sound absolutely huge. It’s certainly been a trademark of the band since the early days and there is no shortage of it on this song and throughout the album as a whole. The guitar work as supplied by Mike Bisulca and Dennis Zehrer is well done and tasteful throughout but it is especially true on “Warm Inside.” Also of note, towards the end of the song the band pays homage to their classic “How Can I Miss You” (from their 1989 debut) with a couple of well-placed lines intertwined seamlessly into the song… nice touch guys!

“Don’t Wait Up” is sort of a “paint by numbers” affair. It’s not a bad song but it’s just kind of there in my opinion. I had to wonder why they featured this particular song in a remixed version as a “bonus” track at the end of the album, especially when it sounds pretty much the same. Hmmmmm….

An interesting thing about this record is that it seems to get stronger as it goes on because from here on out they definitely raise the bar! Track seven, “Breathe”, is “officially” the half way point of this 14-track album but the songs just seem to get better and better from here on out!

“Breathe” is a mid-paced song with a serious groove and some great guitar work. The track is a little more “modern” in sound from anything on the album so far but don’t let that concern you, as it’s nowhere near a bad thing. It’s just a great track!

“In Perfection” is a track that starts out and sounds like it may not be anything special but once the chorus kicks in you will be singing along with it soon after! If you are familiar with the track “Shangra-Love” from their “EP ’92” release then that would be a good point of reference for its feel. It’s another great and memorable track.

“End Of The Night” is maybe the most adventurous track on the album thanks to a middle break that sounds like it could have been lifted from a SANTANA record! Now that may be a bit of stretch but at least I got your attention, right? Seriously though, it is a great little change of pace to hear a Latin influence come into play and it really makes you take notice if you weren’t paying attention!

The next track, “Another Day,” has been making a serious run as my new favorite on the album next to “Warm Inside.” The song is a breezy mid-tempo track with some nice acoustic guitar playing. This is a song I think could have had a big impact for the band had it been released in 1990. I could almost see it being a “Most Requested” video on MTV!

As I mentioned before, the next track, “Turns To Grey” is a song the band has been featuring in concert since they reformed a few years ago. The song starts out with a great riff and let’s you know it isn’t going to mess around! With lyrics like “You’ve got a one way ticket to no place and you’re almost there…” the song makes no bones about it! It’s another vintage sounding AMERICAN ANGEL rocker with huge backing vocals and a “straight to the jugular” attitude. Great vocals… great guitar work… GREAT SONG! That’s all that needs to be said about it.

The album ends on yet another strong note with “Permanent Pause.” It’s a song that sounds like just about everything else on this record… IT JUST SOUNDS LIKE AMERICAN ANGEL!!! And if you were a fan of the band back in the day then you’ll like the sound of “Vanity” for that very reason. If you’re not familiar with the band then this would even be a great introduction because it sits comfortably alongside their previous releases. If you end up liking “Vanity” then you’ll probably want to head over to eBay and find their previous offerings, the self-titled debut from 1989 and “EP ‘92.” And you may as well try and track down the 1998 compilation “American Angel Archives” while you’re at it because that has some great-unreleased archive material on it. They are all worthy of your collection!

If you’re just a long time fan of the band, like myself, and have been enjoying their earlier work all these years then you will be very happy to have something new to sink your teeth into. Welcome back guys!

Band Lineup:
  • Rocco Fury - Vocals
  • Mike Bisulca - Guitar & backing vocals
  • Dennis Zehrer - Guitar & backing vocals
  • Jay Druzsba - Bass
  • Marc Ambrosy - Drums
  • Eric Ragno - Keyboards


Track Listing:
  1. While I’m Away
  2. Pantomind
  3. Vanity
  4. On The Hunt
  5. Seven
  6. Warm Inside
  7. Don’t Wait Up
  8. Breathe
  9. In Perfection
  10. End Of The Night
  11. Another Day
  12. Turns To Grey
  13. Permanent Pause
  14. Don’t Wait Up (Remix)- Bonus Track


Stickman Radio - The Loudest Rock

Rock Eyez Ratings
Ratings effective 4/13/05 © 2005 - 2007. The contents of this site may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of
Site design and layout was created by Carlos Rodrigues. Site Maintained by