Severed Angel – Severed Angel (Sliptrick Records)

Monday, 8th May 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

Originating in the Northeast with members across Long Island, NY and Pennsylvania, Severed Angel is a quintet that captures their initial songwriting burst for this debut, self-titled album. You usually have a lifetime to refine your early material – in the case of these gentlemen, they wrote, recorded, mixed, and mastered these nine main tracks (plus concluding cover) in a relatively short three-month period. Listeners can expect a broad spectrum of styles colliding together to make for a sound that is modern, melodic, and progressive at times – where classic influences from the 80’s/90’s battle against European/American headliners with a slightly more aggressive, angst atmosphere at play.

A lot of the performances present a fluid balance between musical proficiency conveyed in proper emotional context – keyboard tones that have a gothic/industrial edge beyond the cinematic/orchestral layers, clean to charging guitar work which can be progressive one minute, thrash or melodic the next, while the rhythm section flips the script style to style, song to song. There’s obvious vocal dexterity / versatility coming from main vocalist/guitarist Alex Repetti and second guitarist Lou Mavs – matching the thrash-like, speedier proceedings of “Number 8”, while going for a modern, mid-tempo groove template during “In the Red” where some commercial, modern rock/gothic melodies kick in for the soaring chorus. Sparse piano play matches the theatrical delivery vocally for the title cut – the emotive lead break exquisite, while “With Wings Anew” showcases the band on more of an epic, grandiose scale, the 7:16 song taking the listener on an adventurous journey between the heavier guitars, swirling keyboards, progressive tempo/atmosphere shifts and Helloween/Iron Maiden-like instrumental sequences where some darker/extreme voicing amplifies the arrangement at key points. The record closes with the Ghost cover “Square Hammer” – interpreted in a bit more of a Orgy/Fear Factory-ish texture, the key melodies and hooks still evergreen.

Severed Angel on this first album has put all sides forward in their sound – and there’s plenty of potential that should be fully realized as they gain more seasoning together. It’s not very often that you hear aspects of Dream Theater, Fear Factory, Soilwork, Helloween, and Unearth pulled together on one record – so those who want something a bit different in the melodic, modern, progressive metal realm this could be for you.

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