… a serious dose of Viagra for the ears!
Pop Evil ~ War Of Angels (eOne Music)
Release date: July 5, 2011
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Pop Evil vocalist Leigh Kakaty. At the time I’d only heard a few random tracks from their forthcoming sophomore album. Now that I’ve had ample time to settle in with War Of Angels, it becomes quite clear why Kakaty feels like this is really more like a debut album than the first. War Of Angels is a more defining album of who the band is musically. With many young bands, their debut records are often driven by label intervention and pressure. With this record the band had an opportunity to showcase their truer nature. War Of Angels is much heavier overall than Lipstick On The Mirror, and listening to the record you still get the Pop Evil feel, but with more balls.
As we went through the first decade of the new century, rock and metal received an infusion of the classic 70’s sound. Now that we have entered our second decade, a renewed wave of 80’s arena rock blending in with today’s hard rock and metal sound. More testosterone and less AquaNet, but all the great feel good, crank it up to 11 and lose your mind rock and roll.
We’ve been waiting a long time for this release, but the band now has a new home at eOne Music who has set July 5th as the album’s ultimate independence day. And trust me, it’s been worth the wait. War Of Angels is a serious dose of Viagra for the ears. If this record doesn’t make you rock, hard, you’re likely dead or deaf.
Producer Johnny K (Airbourne, Disturbed, Sevendust, Machine Head) has helped elevate the band and this album to the next level on War Of Angels, and you can hear his intensity as well as the band’s passion for making this project an epic release that can endure for years.
The record kicks off with the album’s first single, “Last Man Standing” which is a hard driving, in your face, headbanger loaded with crunchy guitars and a right cross to the chin. Most album’s these days seem to front load one or two solid tracks at the beginning and the album gets progressively weaker from there on out, but believe me when I say, this opening volley is just the foundation for what’s to come.
Before you can even catch your breath, the band cranks it up another notch, carving an “Epitaph” in your chest. This song is an angry, chew you up and spit you out, horns-up anthem, with lots of thick guitar rhythms.
“Broken and Betrayed” is an angst driven number, which kicks off with a sweet rolling guitar riff, that takes us down a moody melodic path to the infectious chorus.
By this point you’re about ready to slow it down, and the band obliges with a beautiful aching piece, “Monster You Made”, which could be as much about the the lover who has broken you down, or a face to face look at the monster in the mirror.
Forgive me for all the damage done
It’s not over, say it’s not over
I’m begging for mercy
I’m only the Monster You Made me
For fans of classic 80’s arena-lighter songs in the power ballad mold, “Let It Go” should fill the ache nicely.
Then the band revs it up again, with the chugging rocker, “Boss’ Daughter”. This track is pure ear candy addiction, and a monster live on stage.
Next up is “Daisy Chain”, which kicks off with an opening riff and chorus that brings to mind, The Cult.
“Purple” is another dynamic, almost poetic gem of a lost-love song. “It only hurts when I’m sober…”
The crunchy grinding guitars return in an edgy gallop for “Black & Blue”.
The album wraps up with the beautiful, “Next Life”. While it won’t be on the regular version of the album, the band also recorded the catchy arena anthem, “Save The World”, which fans can still get for free (as of this writing) if they simply LIKE the band’s Facebook page.
The album’s bonus track (which will likely surface on a Deluxe edition), “Good With The Bad”, recalls Southern rock, with a Lynyrd Skynyrd meets The Black Crowes vibe.
War Of Angels has no filler tracks, and sets the stage for Pop Evil to ascend a few rungs up the rock hierarchy. It’s strong from top to bottom, and you’ll be hard pressed to pry it from your CD player or iPod once you get your ears on it. War Of Angels brings us the battle of good versus Pop Evil.
Now that we finally have a new release date, we can all start marking the days until we can rock this bad boy off its rims.
Warning: If you experience an aural erection lasting longer than 4 hours, count yourself lucky and crank it up.