"Bleed" (Century Media; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Germany's melodic power metal provocateurs Angel Dust have never gotten the exposure in the States that many believe the band deserves. Century Media remedied that injustice by inking the re-formed band to a recording deal. "Bleed" is Angel Dust's second effort for Century Media and is a follow-up to 1998's "Border of Reality."

"Bleed" is a discriminating balance of guitars and keyboards in an intoxicating power metal mix with progressive overtones. The rhythm section is steady and enduring throughout the disc. The lyrical subject matter is an introspective search for inner peace and understanding.  "Bleed" adds up to an enterprising and melodic treasure.

Angel Dust are at their best when the keep things heavy and fast. Bernd Aufermann's blazing guitar runs in "Never" comes damn close to matching the skill and intensity of John Petrucci. "Addicted To Serenity" combines power metal and progressive nuances into a seamless stretch of musical splendor. The huge sounding power chords and soaring vocals of "Surrender?" makes an interesting musical background for this tale of self-determination. The pulsating "Sanity" has a modern touch that creates an unpredictable, jagged edge that would make Savatage proud.  The title track is a crushing musical tour de force that is as infectious as it is rocking. "Black Rain" is a supersensory tribute to '80s anthemic metal.

Angel Dust's slower songs (such as "Follow Me" and "Liquid Angel") have a distinct flavor of Queensryche and Dream Theater. "Follow Me" is more of a pop departure for the band, yet still has many progressive elements. The troubled tale that is "Liquid Angel" is an affecting work of personal struggle; the keyboard work on this track highlights an impressive musical journey.

"Bleed" has three bonus tracks including a cover of Rainbow's "Temple Of The King" from the Ronnie James Dio days. "Memories" was recorded for their prior disc and although it has some great parts the song seems a bit forced. "Nightmare" is an extended version from the "Border Of Reality" disc.

While "Bleed" is not particularly ground breaking it is well constructed and superbly executed heavy metal. I strongly recommend this disc for those of you are itching to sample something outside the mainstream that doesn't stray too far from what is worthy of radio airplay.

The word on the street is that Angel Dust are already in the studio recording their follow-up to "Bleed."  "Bleed" was produced by Siggi Bemm with assistance from the band. The production and sound is fantastic - clearly this is one of the better sounding discs I've heard all year.

Angel Dust: Dirk Thurisch on vocals, Bernd Aufermann on guitars and background vocals, Steven Banx on keyboards, Frank Banx on bass and background vocals, and Dirk Assmuth on drums.

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"Border of Reality" (Century Media; 1998 / 2001)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Angel Dust reformed in 1998, dropped their previous thrash sound for a more power metal style, and gave the world "Border Of Reality." Originally released only in Europe, “Border Of Reality” got rave reviews in the metal press. It took awhile for Angel Dust to get their names back up on the radar screens of metal fans, but “Bleed” globally re-established the band. Once only available as an expensive import CD for those of in America, Century Media has found it wise to re-issue “Border Of Reality” with two bonus tracks.

Although “Border Of Reality” is really heavy on progressive styling in certain moments, it certainly maintains its power metal edge throughout. “Border Of Reality” has a hard-rockin’ edge that thoroughly satisfies at each turn. Even when Angel Dust venture into epic-power ballad territory with “When I Die” it keeps things fresh with a somewhat Asian sounding, flute-like intro.

Dirk Thurisch’s vocals are strong with an ‘80s metal melodic edge that is practiced by very few vocalists in this day and age. Bernd Aufermann’s guitar squeals with aggression (especially on “Nightmare”), Steven Banx’s keyboards alternately and appropriately support and drive the band’s songs, while the rhythm section of Frank Banx on bass and Dirk Assmuth on drums keeps a low, but steady profile.

Angel Dust has a tradition of covering ‘70s and ‘80s hard rock giants – that tradition got its start on “Border Of Reality” as the band does their own rendition of Deep Purple’s “Spotlight Kid.”

The two bonus tracks included on this re-issue are worthy additions. The first is an unreleased track from their third post-reunion effort called “Same Eyes.” “Same Eyes” certainly ‘sounds’ like it came from the “Enlighten The Darkness” sessions, but would seem more at home on either “Bleed” or “Border Of Reality.” The second bonus cut is a cover of Uriah Heep’s “Easy Livin’” which has to be one of the more commonly covered songs in the music business.

“Border Of Reality” was produced by Angel Dust and Wolfgang Stach.

Angel Dust: Dirk Thurisch on vocals, Bernd Auferman on guitars, Dirk Assmuth on drums, Frank Banx on bass, and Steven Banx on keyboards.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2023 21:56:12 -0400.