ANGEL SWORD - Neon City
January 4, 2020, 21 days ago
Such is the state of the modern music industry that the sophomore effort by Finland's Angel Sword was released multiple times, in various formats, over the course of two months. While the digital downloads, cassettes and CDs arrived on different dates, late in 2019 (too delayed to be considered for Best Of contention), retro vinyl issuance greeted the New Year. The '16 debut made my Top 10, so to say Neon City was eagerly anticipated is an understatement.
Like many of his chain smoking, hard liquor drinking countrymen, Jerry Razors possesses a hoarse, croaking voice that nearly resonates on itself. NWOBHM - era melodies imbue the eight tracks. Think Thin Lizzy guitars mixed with the later output of countrymen Sentenced. The title cut enlivens things, built around an infectious rhythm and easy, sing-along chorus. All are quick hitters, with about half failing to crack four minutes and closing "Hardliner" being the mammoth length option, at 4:32. Riffing "Evil Eye” must be a fun number onstage. Slower stomp of "Electric Man" leaves Razors' voice bare, for better or worse, whereas on "Tower Of Light", he's double-tracked. Pace picks back up for "Night Rider", more metallic than most of its hard rock tinged surroundings. Group a cappella vocals kick off the bouncy conclusion, "Hardliner", a rebel anthem. Might be a little too "old school" for years that weren't raised on such sounds. Then again, you'll never know, if you don't try.