Angel Dust - Bleed
Century Media
Progessive Power Metal
12 songs (64:56)
Release year: 1999
Angel Dust, Century Media
Reviewed by Marty
Archive review

Angel Dust started out in the 80's as a more of a Thrash Metal type of band and released a couple of albums before disbanding in 1989. The band reformed in 1997 with original members Dirk Assmuth (drums) and Frank Banx (bass) recruiting Steven Banx (keyboards), Bernd Aufermann (guitar - since has been replaced by Ritchie Wilkison) and vocalist Dirk Thurisch. 1998's Border Of Reality album marked a dramatic change in sound for the band, featuring more of a melodic and somewhat more progressive sound with emphasis on creating heavy, but also very catchy melodies. This is the second release by this new line-up of the band and what an album it is!! The use of keyboards along with pounding heavy riffs, give this band one of the more unique sounds in metal today.

The quality of the songwriting, the vocal melody lines and the attention to detail is second to none. This is a band of contrasts, and is evident right off the start with the opening title track, Bleed. A nice orchestrated piano intro leads into a great crunchy-heavy riff with the piano track still very much present in the background. This song has a classic pounding heavy metal style and a wonderful, powerful chorus. This song also features some nice harmonized lead guitar and is certainly to this day, one of Angel Dust's best songs. The vocal lines are very melodic for a band with this amount of heaviness, something that is evident throughout much of this release as well as their more recent Enlighten The Darkness and Of Human Bondage albums. Another great track, Never, contains a mix of lighter and heavy passages and again some very melodic vocals and choruses layered over very heavy music. This is a very original approach to metal music and is becoming somewhat of a trademark sound for them. This song contains yet another great chorus, but it isn't heard until about mid-song, another unique aspect to the songwriting taken by this band. With most Angel Dust songs, sampling the first minute or so of a song really does not represent the sound of the whole track. Often, tempo changes, changes in vocal melodies or even the chorus, are not heard until mid-way through a song.

This album contains one of the best epic power ballads to come out in quite some time in the form of Follow Me (Parts I & II). The track opens with a haunting electric guitar arpeggio with acoustic guitar and piano accompanyment. When the soft melodic vocals come in, instantly, the word "classic" comes to mind. The chorus is simply stunning and this song still gives me chills when I listen to it! Part I of the song builds then comes to an abrupt end as Part II kicks in. A bass guitar riff with some acoustic guitar starts the second half of this track before a slow, crashing and heavy riff comes in. A more aggressive vocal style is used on this track which then launches into an awesome, fast and heavy interlude mid-song. The song finishes with a heavier reprise of the vocal and melody lines from Part I and builds to a stunning climax. I loved this song when I first heard it and I still love it to this day. An outstanding example of both epic and power ballad songwriting and is one of my all time favorite songs.

One of the more faster and aggressive tracks, Addicted To Serenity, features some very fast and heavy riffing and again, some very melodic vocal lines with sprinklings of piano throughout. It also uses some cool Helloween style fast lead guitar harmonies. Surrender starts with a quiet, more progressive-like passage, then gets much heavier and faster and even uses sudden tempo changes into an almost Iced Earth style of riffing pre-chorus.

The U.S. release of this album contains 3 bonus tracks which are an amazing addition to this album and certainly are not throw away tracks. The first bonus track, Memories, is a more of a Power Metal style with fast double bass drumming and power-chord riffing and was originally recorded for the Border Of Reality album. The chorus is a little out of character as far as the style and feel of the rest of the song, but that's what makes this band so special. Also included is a stunning version of Rainbow's Temple Of The King, recorded for the Holy Dio (A Tribute To Dio) album. They nail this song perfectly and it's a true pleasure to the ears! The last track, Nightmare, is actually a remixed and extended version of the same track found on the Border Of Reality album. It's a bouncy, heavy and very catchy tune and has more of a commercial hard rock feel to it.

I can't say enough about this band. They truly are one of the best and more unique metal bands around and are deserving of a lot more recognition. Their Enlighten The Darkness album, released in 2000, is a masterpiece and one of my favorite all time metal releases. This album comes in at a close second. If you're looking for a band that combines the best elements of Power Metal, Progressive Metal and even some Thrash Metal stylings with strong, amazing vocals and stunning choruses, look no further than this band. There aren't many who are better at it than these guys.

Killing Songs :
Bleed, Never, Follow Me (Parts I and II), Addicted To Serenity, Surrender, Memories, Temple Of The King
Marty quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Angel Dust that we have reviewed:
Angel Dust - Of Human Bondage reviewed by Marty and quoted 82 / 100
Angel Dust - Into The Dark Past reviewed by Marty and quoted 84 / 100
Angel Dust - Enlighten The Darkness reviewed by Chris and quoted 93 / 100
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