Crawling Out of Hell
posted on 12/2010 By:
At first glance at some of the band photos Fallen Angel has posted on their website, you might expect that this five-piece unit from upstate New York plays symphonic black metal ala Dimmu or Cradle. Or maybe they’re all just really huge King Diamond fanboys. Due to the makeup and costumes each band member wears (more on that l ater), it wouldn’t seem that you’d be too far off the mark. And while the former is about as far from true as it could possibly get, the latter man (and of course his work in Mercyful Fate) has clearly influenced these metalheads, along with the likes of Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, very early Anthrax and Queensrÿche.
Not only is Crawling out of Hell the first in a trilogy of album releases by these melodic-heavy power-thrashers, each album release will be accompanied by a full-on novel to help tell this tale conceived by author/guitarist John Cruppe, and if that weren’t enough, Cruppe also has plans to release the story in comic book form. The reason for the dramatic get up? Well, each band member plays a particular villain in this story that sees the main character Luke’s soul struggle to stay alive as he travels through the realms of the damned, and I’m assuming that’s where the evil villains come into play.
After the brief intro track “Crash into Oblivion”, guitarists Robb Lotta (who had a stint as touring guitarist for Joey Belladonna) and Cruppe showcase the first of a surplus of catchy, melodic licks in follower “Sinner’s Vengeance”. There is no shortage of lead work and dual flashiness here, folks, and these cats are obviously a well-schooled duo that has spent some time together. Once the track gets to the verse section, the music underneath could have easily fit on Fistful of Metal or even Spreading the Disease, but it’s when vocalist Steve Seniuk starts singing that the Matt Barlow (Iced Earth) comparisons will likely perk up in your mind, and for the most part, that isn’t a bad thing at all.
With his more aggressive and gritty attack taking the reins for the most part, Seniuk isn’t afraid to show off his higher register as heard on tracks like the vicious “The Reapers Shall Gather” and galloper “The Neutral Zone”. I’d even go as far as to say that, at times, he almost sounds like a combination of Barlow and that man’s one-time replacement in IE, Tim "Ripper" Owens. But it’s on the mellower, acoustic-driven numbers (“The Answer”, “Life or Death”, “Leaving it all Behind”, “Sad Wings”) where a major, major Geoff Tate influence is obvious. To be honest, Seniuk does a fabulous job of sounding like any number of quality metal vocalists out there and this is a solid performance overall, but I guess I don’t really know what he truly sounds like and, while coming completely from a personal standpoint, I would like to see him try and find himself a bit more vocally next time around.
Like all concept-based albums there is a ton to digest here, and due to the album's length, which comes in at roughly 70 minutes, the album does seem to drag a bit near the end. There are short, little “cinematic pieces”, as Cruppe calls them, that really could have been left off as far as I’m concerned. Had one or more of these little one-, two-minute transition songs been eliminated, along with a couple of the clunkers like the radio-ready “The Answer” and the seemingly directionless “Watching”, the album as a whole might be easier to get through in one sitting. But again, there is a story originally in novel form here to tell, and to try and break that down into lyrics for an entire album could not have been all that easy, thus the lengthiness.
When all is said and done, for a self-financed, self-produced album, this is easily an above average effort, as overall the sound of Crawling out of Hell is of decent quality. And with my gripes about the album’s length, and Senuik’s tendency to follow his peers rather than himself vocally being more of a personal issue, this is a pretty damn fine recording here and I can’t help but recommend it to the truest fans of this style of melodic heavy, dramatic power-thrash. With the second outing tentatively titled Cast Out of Heaven, I am curious to see how the story and music evolve from here.
Register to post comments.