We learn and discover about new music/bands in many different ways and my discovery of Rage of Angels came about originally from another band. While on the Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2014 I happened across Tyketto (whose music I had heard, but not overly gravitated to). After experiencing what I can only describe as a religious experience during that performance (which I would later name as “The Best on the Boat”), I briefly met Ged Rylands, Tyketto‘s keyboard player. In October that same year, I ventured to Firefest: The Final Fling Festival in Nottingham, UK where, among many other great groups on the roster, surfaced Rage of Angels, a band that is the brainchild of Ged Rylands. In 2013, Ged Rylands and Rage of Angels issued their debut album, Dreamworld, to favorable reviews and I can say first hand after Firefest that the band is just as captivating in a live setting (read the Firefest review here). Now in 2016, February 26 will see The Devil’s New Tricks, the Rage of Angels sophomore effort hit the shelves and thanks to the good folks at Escape Music, Decibel Geek has an advance copy.
Rylands was the original keyboard player for Ten, another band that graced the Firefest stage that year, and after the multi-talented musician left Ten he took a ten-year long break for parenthood during which he continued songwriting. The results of that songwriting culminated in Dreamworld and The Devil’s New Tricks carries right on from there improving on the already fantastic basis laid out by Dreamworld.
The pounding drum beats that ominously open up the lead track, “R.O.A.”, which I can only assume is an acronym for Rage of Angels, give way into a supercharged track brimming with electric energy. A fantastic melodic hard rock song and no better way to lead an album than with an energized foot-stomper featuring a catchy and melodic chorus. “All Your Own Way” tapers back the pace a little in a great showcase for vocalist Rob Moratti (ex-Saga) to display his ranges alongside some impressive guitar work. The title track is next in the parade of “feel-good” rock, chock full of floatingly melodic vocal tones, precise guitar work, tasteful keyboard lines and steady drumming that could easily see this played on rock radio, that is, of course, if radio played hard rock anymore. As well as handling the keyboards, Ged plays all the rhythm guitars on the album, the leads are supplied by Neil Fraser (ex-Ten) with Tyketto/Furyon guitarist Chris Green also chipping in with 6 solos. “One Step Closer” pays an excellent homage to that very radio friendly hard rock sound I just spoke of without sounding dated at all and reminds me somehow of Brighton Rock. The chorus here is simply magical in what I might call the strongest, at least, my favorite, track of The Devil’s New Tricks. “Strangers in the Night” follows in the same vein and keyboards take a little more front action for more classic AOR stylings on “I Feel it in My Heart”. Seeing the title “In and Out of Love” immediately makes me think Bon Jovi, but that’s a different song altogether. Forget what I said a few minutes before about the top track on The Devil’s New Tricks, it’s clearly this one with its sing-along chorus and “hard rock feel” from start to finish. Now that I’ve played “In and Out of Love” twice more and moved it into my portable MP3 playlist, I feel safe to move forward with “Stop Changing the TV” another uplifting, energized hard rock track that throws melody all over the place. “What Matters Most of All” takes us through to the wrap-up track of “Long Days Without You” two more slower paced melodic AOR gems. This ten song collection doesn’t skimp on the product, featuring not one track under a runtime of 5 minutes and many close to or above the 6-minute mark! The Devil’s New Tricks is written and produced by Ged Rylands, mixed and mastered by Martin Kronlund and executive produced by Khalil Turk. Rage of Angels are Ged Rylands (Tyketto) all rhythm guitars, keyboards and backing vocals, Rob Moratti (Saga) lead vocals, Chris Green (Tyketto), Neil Fraser (ex-Ten) and Martin Kronlund (Lover Under Cover/Gypsy Rose) all supplying lead guitar work while Perra Johannson (Coldspell) is on drums and Chris Goldsmith (Coldspell) on bass.
Rage of Angels have created an impressive sophomore effort loaded with melodies, hooks and a “feel-good” energy throughout that should be a great bet for fans of Tyketto, Brighton Rock, Pretty Maids etc. Many thanks to Escape Music for issuing this album and I’ll most certainly be adding the hard copy CD to my collection once it becomes available in North America. I highly recommend you do the same!