FIFTH ANGEL - The Third Secret
November 14, 2018, a month ago
Another late '80s "tweener": a talented band that wrote good music, but devoid of image, the Seattlites landed in no man’s land between burgeoning thrash and the Sunset Strip. Now 3/5 of the classic recording line-up, including their best known entity, drummer Ken Mary, issue their third (notice the title) album. Guitarist Kendall Bechtel has taken over vocals from original singer Ted Pilot (now a successful dentist/endodontist) and post-recording Ed Archer (guitar) rejoined his old mates. In the NYC market, the band gained a bit more notoriety for "Midnight Love" being used in the opening credits of Howard Stern's short-lived, low budget WOR television show.
There's always a danger in reactivating a classic moniker, even with a complete compliment of players. With only two discs before bowing out, the historical perspective/pressure is even greater on the new incarnation of Fifth Angel, yet from the opening "Stars Are Falling", it's evident the musical integrity is intact, lots of high energy classy melodies, without being sappy. That doesn't mean a bunch of ballads, in fact, only "Can You Hear Me" comes close. The urgency is aided by keeping things under five minutes, in fact, several are under Roger Bannister's famous timing. For the uninitiated, the sound is somewhere between Crimson Glory ('Dust To Dust") and today's Kamelot. Mary drives a thunderous "This Is War" and "Shame On You" is like-mindedly lively. Best of the batch is left for last, "Hearts Of Stone" being the equal of anything off the initial pair of albums. Can't think of higher praise than that. Welcome back.