In more Biblical times one of the archangels was called Gabriel, now they are called Søren, Janus and Kenneth, collectively ascended in Denmark under the pseudonym Archangel. Applying the motto “something for everyone,” the band launched its debut album Total Dark Sublime in 2023.
At first glance, the band personifies everything a mother warns her daughter about: long-haired thugs with broad chests, liberally doused with (let’s hope) fake blood. But if that same mother keeps her eyes closed and has a little love for “theatrical horror metal punk” (for that’s how the band itself calls their genre), then it’s definitely okay for her to have her beloved daughter kidnapped by this trio.
Archangel brings varied hard rock/metal/punk that sounds far more well-behaved than their bloody image. But that’s the case with many other bands that have the word “theatrical” in their description. Isn’t that so, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., Kiss, GWAR, Marilyn Manson?
Just listen to opener (and first single) The New God: introduced by an acoustic guitar, an orchestra in the background, a soft voice … But you do feel that something more menacing is coming. And so it is: a very catchy no-nonsense riff and 1-beat drum takes over, only to build another calm bridge later on. A guitar solo, you said? Yes, there is, but you feel Archangel’s music is not built around that. No, fans of guitar shredding and minutes of soloing or guitar battles will have a barren trip on this album.
Then Archangel decides to put the brakes on for a while and throws in a power ballad with second single Vidine. Quite a break in style that first minute, but throughout the song the punk sound of the guitar still gets enough space to keep it acceptable.
With Total Dark Sublime, Archangel delivers a nice punk rock album, although musically they aim wider. For me, though, it’s those more punk rock-oriented songs that stand out. The more ordinary rock/metal without heavy solos is worthwhile, but it doesn’t set them apart. And … 37 minutes is not long for a full album.
Scarlet Records, 2023
- The New God
- Take My Soul
- Dance Demon Dance
- Blind Dragon
- Apollyon Vistas
- Cast Down
- Catatonic Children
- Total Dark Sublime
- Søren Crawack – Vocals, guitar
- Janus Kragh – Guitar
- Kenneth Frandsen – Bass