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Fallen Angel - "Crawling Out Of Hell" (CD)

Fallen Angel - "Crawling Out Of Hell" CD cover image

"Crawling Out Of Hell" track listing:

1. Crash To Oblivion
2. Sinner's Vengeance
3. March Into Hell
4. Blood On My Soul
5. The Grinding Wheels Of War
6. The Reapers Shall Gather
7. Arrival
8. Dark Lord
9. Darkness
10. The One Who Walks Alone
11. The Answer
12. Respiration Desperation
13. The Neutral Zone
14. Life Or Death
15. On And On
16. Ashes To Ashes
17. Leaving It All Behind
18. Watching
19. Sad Wings
20. Grant Me Peace

Reviewed by on January 29, 2011

"It's obvious that guitarist and keyboardist John Cruppe — the mastermind behind all this — obviously has studied his heavy metal history and created a project a la Kiss in the 1970s or Hawkwind when they were palling around with Michael Moorcock."

It's easy to admire the ambition that went into Fallen Angel's debut release, "Crawling Out Of Hell," which is seeing the light of day not only as a CD, but also as a novel, art piece, and a comic book. It's obvious that guitarist and keyboardist John Cruppe — the mastermind behind all this — has studied his heavy metal history and created a project a la Kiss in the 1970s or Hawkwind when they were palling around with Michael Moorcock. Unfortunately, when judged solely on a musical level, it's somewhat harder to praise.

Obviously this is a concept album, apparently following the exploits of Luke, who goes on a journey into the afterlife after a car crash (he's apparently left "Club Inferno"). Onstage, the band dresses as the villains of the piece, with names like "The Dark Lord Of Democales" and "The Lord Of The Flesh."

I've got to give credit where credit is due. This band obviously has chops to spare. Cruppe and fellow guitarist Robb Lotta can lay down the shred like nobody's business, playing in styles ranging from power metal speed to crunchy thrash, and do so on tracks like "Sinner's Vengeance" and "The Reapers Shall Gather." Singer Steve Seniuk's adept at both a low-end melodic style reminiscent of Queensryche's Geoff Tate on "Life Or Death," and can deliver a Halford-style shriek that will send chills down your spine on tracks like "Dark Lord."

The problem with the album is that there is usually far too much going on at any given time, which results in a cluttered sound. Numerous times throughout the album, it feels like drummer Frankie Quaggs is playing a different song than the rest of the band. The situation isn't helped by the number of transitional tracks like "Crash To Oblivion" that feature both instruments and ambient noise (cars crashing, swords clashing and the like). Even the quieter tracks, like "Sad Wings" are over-crowded with an intrusive lead guitar line and background vocals.

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that this is the first of a planned three-part cycle, with "Cast Out Of Heaven" to follow. As I said before, the effort to create something truly epic is something to be admired — and I hope that Fallen Angel can create a more focused effort for parts two and three. As for "Crawling Out Of Hell," there are far too many divergent elements happening at the same time for it to feel like a truly cohesive whole.

Highs: The band has ambition and chops to spare.

Lows: Virtually every song is overly cluttered, resulting in a lack of cohesion.

Bottom line: An admirable effort at creating something epic is undone by cluttered songs with too much going on.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)