|Posted on January 9, 2014 at 10:10 PM|
Angelica – Thrive
Written by The Rock Man
It happens ever year. That surprise release you never saw coming, that one in however many yearly album releases that simply blows you away. In the beginning the album in question will cross your path and with an abundant lack of enthusiasm you will look at it and think to yourself, “Whatever”. You will put the album on, press play and wait to see if it is every bit as lame as you think it will be, but wait a minute, as each track unfolds you find yourself more and more mesmerised by what is playing out in front of you. By the end of the first listen you find yourself under its spell, helpless to its charm and brilliance and craving more and as I said it happens every single year without fail.
If the surprise release of the year was an actual award my vote would be going to the debut album by Angelica titled Thrive. Angelica is Angelica Rylin, frontwoman of Swedish symphonic metal outfit The Murder Of My Sweet, who to date, have released 2 studio albums, .Divanity (2010) and Bye Bye Lullaby (2012). Before listening to this album I really was not that familiar with her work in The Murder Of My Sweet, I had heard 1 or 2 songs somewhere and they sounded okay but I did not payed that much attention to them. So I received the press release for this record and naturally they try to hype it up with phrases like “An exciting AOR star is born” or “An all melodic rock album affair” and so on and so forth and given the little I knew about her in the first place I really was not expecting much from this at all.
So I decide to give it a listen, actually maybe just the first track and lead single Breaking My Heart, and to my surprise, this is really good and not what I thought it might be. As the press release promised, full of melody, great harmonies and it rocks, in a similar vein to Robin Beck. Okay, so I will give the next track I Am Strong a listen and again I am shocked by how good this is, great keyboard/guitar opening riff, a nice solid groove and infectious vocal performance. Then I come to the following track To Your Rescue, this is a real highlight, with a fantastic chorus and a smoking guitar solo and before I knew it I was hooked, I needed to hear more of this and that is what I would get with tracks like Nothing Else You Can Break, Riding Out The Storm, Rain On My Parade and Take Me To Your Heart. Every album of this nature needs a good ballad and on Thrive you will find two, Can’t Stop Love and Losers In Paradise, both are top quality and what you would expect, as for the overall sound of the record, I found myself thinking at times “This is so Robin Beck”, then “This is so Romeo’s Daughter” and then “This is so Alias”, I guess that is the general ball park vibe the record gives off.
One of the really interesting aspects of this record is some of the musicians that contributed in a guest capacity to the making of it, names you would not associate with this brand of music. For example guitarists Jesper Stromblad from melodic death metallers In Flames, Magnus Karlsson from German power metal group Primal Fear, Per Berquist from Smash Into Pieces and keyboardist Matt Guillory from James LaBrie’s solo project. In addition Angelica’s Murder Of My Sweet bandmate, Daniel Flores provides drums, excellent production qualities and contributed lyrical input along with names such as Alessandro Del Vecchio (Ex-Eden’s Curse, Hardline), Robert Sall (Work Of Art) and Harry Hess (Harem Scarem).
I am looking forward with great interest to see whether Angelica will continue down this road on future solo releases, I hope she does. But for right now, take a listen to Angelica and get caught up in the melodic wonder that is Thrive, like me, you will be glad you did, as the press release stated an AOR star is born.
Categories: Album Reviews